Children can be very reluctant to do things we ask of them, even if it is completely for their benefit.
Nothing highlights this truth more than educational endeavors – like teaching your child their shapes, how to dress themselves, or even how to read.
How do we encourage our child to make sense of all those letters when they would rather be catching bugs outside? We may know someone who can help.
Once a child learns how to pronounce words parents become overjoyed over this huge milestone.
The problem is, we assume our children are going to want to pick up a book and begin the beautiful journey into fictional worlds and unlimited information; but it doesn’t always work out lie that.
David Woodland wanted to give his son incentive to build his reading skills, so he thought outside the box and came up with a plan that worked better than he could have imagined.
In his tweet he revealed his secret.
Woodland pays his son $1 for every book he completes, and they aren’t picture books either.
We pay my oldest $1 every time he reads a book. We’re talking 160 page chapter books. 😂
I’m out $120 this year and he thinks he’s ripping me off. Best investment ever.
— David Woodland (@DavidSven) July 17, 2020
Money can be a powerful motivator.
Any child of the 80’s knows about external motivators to read with the popular Book It! Program from Pizza Hut where you could earn a free personal pan pizza after completing five books.
And to the delight of all the nostalgic moms out there, Pizza Hut still has this program running!
Just sign your child up online (homeschoolers included) and watch them work harder for that personal pan pizza than most of us do to keep a roof over our head!
And there has been dozens of incentive programs just like this one through the decades to foster a love of receding through positive correlations.
At least Woodland set high expectations with a high quantity of pages, they could be worse off.
“We’re talking 160-page chapter books,” he wrote on July 18.
There have been parents who allow screen time for doing regular tasks such as homework or keeping their bedroom clean; which sends a message that you don’t have to take care of your home or mind unless you are getting something out of it.
This way he is going above and beyond the mundane list of chores for compensation.
Now the young boy will have to use math to count the money, critical thinking skills on how and when to spend it.
Unfortunately for Mr. Woodland’s wallet, his son has really taken to reading and it has cost him $120 thus far; which he feels is totally worth the investment.
“He thinks he’s ripping me off,” Woodland boasted. “Best investment ever.”
There was a second part to the motivational hack.
Bedtime is at a strict hour- unless he is reading, in which case he gets a little extra time.
The second trick is: he has a strict bedtime, but can stay up late if he is reading books.
I don’t have a Soundcloud, but you can hear more about me raising a family in the Silicon Valley here:https://t.co/JQWXNcEDxo
— David Woodland (@DavidSven) July 17, 2020
The controversial dad hack for getting your child to read gained the attention of 499,000 people on Twitter.
Some of those users obviously didn’t agree with Woodland on his approach.
One response read:
“Artificial incentives. This kills the joy of learning. Makes it transactional. Please try to teach the joy of learning instead (intrinsic).”
Another user wrote in the thread to “Be careful of attaching financial incentive” to things you want them to do.
Other Twitter followers applauded his educational tool!
One user shared:
“Our parents awarded us $10 for every A ($9 for A-, $8 for B+…) on our report cards. This was tracked in our ‘checkbook’ and every year the value of an A appreciated by $2 Loved beating my lil bro so much it became a habit… He’s a UCLA grad. I’m a Harvard grad.”
There was even a commenter that had the same method used on them as a kid, and now loves to read.
“I hated reading so much as a child that [I] needed remedial reading classes. My mom decided to pay me for each book I read, and I came to love if so much I now average 60 books a year.”
All the attention led Woodland to tweet a close to the debate, writing:
“Didn’t realize ‘encouraging reading’ could be such a controversial topic, so I’ll end on this: He’s a great kid and thrives in academics and sports. More importantly, he is a loving older brother/friend/son. I am proud to be his dad. Don’t worry about my kid! He will be okay!”
Didn’t realize “encouraging reading” could be such a controversial topic, so I’ll end on this:
He’s a great kid and thrives in academics and sports. More importantly, he is a loving older brother/friend/son.
I am proud to be his dad. Don’t worry about my kid! He will be okay!
— David Woodland (@DavidSven) July 18, 2020
Some kids pick up their first book and love reading immediately, but others need A LOT of encouragement.
Getting a child to develop a love for reading can be tricky. Moms have tried just about everything from earning screen time to creative games.
Having intrinsic motivation is great, but not always an option with kids.
We adults aren’t much better. Would we go to work every day out of intrinsic motivation if we weren’t given a paycheck at the end of the week – probably not.
Giving your child compensation to read (that you would have spent on them anyway) isn’t the worst idea.
It could be a win-win. They earn their own spending money (teaching work ethic) and they master an essential life skill.
If you have a different method to teach a resistant child to read as many books as Woodland has gotten his child to read, awesome! Keep up the good work.