C has been reading independently for some time now, and its not unusual to find her sitting down with one of the many picture books from her bookshelf. However, I’ve had trouble persuading her to pick up a chapter book out of her own accord.
It’s not that she has difficulty reading – her assignments from enrichment class include chapter books from the Katie Woo series, which she has no trouble completing. Aside from doing her homework, there was no motivation to read “thick books with few pictures”.
In order to spark her interest in chapter books, I tried introducing different books without much success. This included titles from several popular children’s series:
- Arthur (I borrowed the DVDs, and the computer game too)
- Geronimo Stilton (all the rage among the younger crowd… but apparently not for C)
- Rainbow Fairies (somehow she didn’t find the books attractive enough).
- Secret Kingdom (she started reading but didn’t have the motivation to complete it).
Although she didn’t complete the Secret Kingdom book, it gave me a good idea of what got her interest: (1) the cover had glittery stars (yes, that helped!) and (2) the mention of a token given in the book.
She had asked about the token – how it looked like, how it appeared. Somehow, she got the impression that it appeared magically at the end of the book. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was in fact a coupon to be cut out. Instead, I told her that the tokens were given by the book fairy, and yes, they appeared if she read the book. She seemed rather taken with this idea.
Last week, I tried another chapter book. This time, I introduced her to one of my favourite authors from my own childhood – Enid Blyton. I made sure to find a book that had a glittery cover , and told her that the book fairy would give her a token at the end of the book. The fairy would know if she really read the book or if she simply flipped through it – mummy would help the fairy check.
The New Adventures of the Wishing-chair was the chosen book. You can’t see the sparkles here, but the actual book had a really pretty, glittery cover page. It’s part of the early reader series, so there were not too many words on a page, and fonts were bigger.
C dove into it with gusto, finishing the book in three days (it was not a difficult book to read, she only spent about five to ten minutes a day on it). Here’s the token that “magically appeared” a day after she completed the book:
She was elated to get the token (she claims that it was a present from Jack, Jessica and Wishler from the book, and the book fairy just helped to pass it to her). When asked if she liked the book, she replied that she did, and asked to read a second book! 🙂
Although the method used was not the conventional “read with the child, they will grow to love reading” way, it got C started. Perhaps she is reading the books for the tokens now, but I hope that she will grow to love chapter books in time. For the sake of my pocket, I’ve explained that there are only certain special books that contain tokens, so she has to read more in order to find them.
I’ve got her a little wooden box to keep her book fairy tokens. Hopefully she will get to fill it up soon. I can’t wait to share some of my favourite childhood books with her (Roald Dahl, Nancy Drew, Malory Towers etc) once she is ready. 🙂
Have you used alternative ways to get your child to read?
What a fabulous idea! 😀 I love, love, love the book fairy concept!
Thank you! Having the book fairy sure speeded up her reading progress 🙂
We have used incentive programs; I’ve made up ones by (like earning a new book from the bookstore after reading X number of books) and others like this: https://feedback.sixflags.com/rts/default.aspx. Maggie was super easy but Joshua took much more creativity. 😉
It’s really nice that corporations support the reading program. I don’t think we have these incentive programs here, but I’ll try to look around more. It sure takes creativity to be a mom 😉
It sure does take creativity! You are doing an awesome job in that department, by the way!! 😀
Thanks Valerie. Can’t wait for your posts on homeschooling… I’ll bet there will be plenty of useful tips there!
That’s a lovely motivation. Cheers~ 😀
Thank you 🙂
You’re welcome! Cheers~ 😀
I love Enid Blyton! I still have the Blyton first book I ever bought – The Magic Brush and other stories. Others include the St Claire’s, Malory Towers, Wishing Chair, Magic Faraway Tree and more. Cant wait to start sharing them with my boy 🙂
Haha… I still have my books too! I kept my St Claire’s and Malory Towers books, and I still re-read them sometimes 🙂
Me too! I remember wishing that the schools were real and that I could go there.
Lol! I wanted to learn to play lacrosse 😉
I love Enid blyton!! She’s the first author I fell in love with. Haha. The cover of this new book is cute but somehow I miss those old covers!
I’m a lot like C then. I love stars and I love all things glittery (I’m a romantic remember). This token idea is really cute and I love that star token you got her! Now I feel like reading Enid blyton books…lol.
Zee, I know what you mean about the covers! Somehow the new covers don’t feel like the books we knew and loved, right?
Hehe, I’ll bet that you had dreams of becoming a princess at some point in your life? Thanks! The star actually swivels around in the ring so she was very pleased with it.
I actually stood and read through a few of Enid Blyton’s books before I bought this. Brings back memories 🙂
Wow! I love this idea!!! Fab-u-lous!!! My oldest needs no incentive in this department but I think I am going to require more help with my son. He’s still in the early learning phases of it but getting him to read independently without my urging is a struggle. I know he would love the idea of a token!
Glad you like the idea! Do let me know if it works for Bency 🙂
Very creative way to motivate your girl! I loved Enid Blyton when I was a little girl too, and I think you made the right decision to start her on this series. Definitely more engaging for girls. Do try Mathilda by Roald Dahl and let us know if she likes it! 🙂
Thank you! yes, will definitely try that (I’ve bought the book, waiting for her to finish her current Princess Posey story 😉 )
What a great idea! I love that she has to read ts of books but only some are token worthy!
Thanks! I couldn’t afford having requests for tokens each time she read a book. Besides, not all books are written the same 😉
This is so cute! Keeping it in mind for my son… he has a few years yet! I think its important to keep children excited to read, it’s so easy to go to video games, tv, etc these days!
Glad you liked it! I’ll bet you’d design some really cute tokens for him 😉 yes, with all the electronics around, it’s harder to get them started on books…
Oh that is a wonderful story. 🙂
Thank you very much 🙂
I don’t even know how I finished up here, however I thought this post used to be good. I don’t recognise who you’re but definitely you’re
going to a famous blogger for those who aren’t already. Cheers!
Thank you very much for your kind compliments 🙂 glad you enjoyed the post!
Ingenious! It’s something anyone who wants to get a child motivated about reading, or reading more advanced or different types of books, should try. (That includes parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians.) Thank you for liking my blog post.