Can you say ‘stubborn’?
Two weeks into the new school year and we’re right back where we were last year. If you’ve followed our Life as a Field Trip journey you know P can really dig in his heels. The boy dug in and planted his feet down deep the very first day of school. He was not interested in reading 20 minutes a day. He doesn’t say he doesn’t want to read. He just always wants to read tomorrow which as you know, never comes.
Before school started I read to him nightly. Sometimes I’d get him to read out loud, but it always took verbal gymnastics and serious patience on my part. I still read out loud to him and I hope he’ll let me read to him until he takes off for college, but this year 20 minutes a day isn’t his choice, it’s a class requirement*.
Rocks for a Job Well Done?
Our son’s teacher started the year with a rock and roll theme in his classroom. The first day of school I was pleased to see the door and walls were decorated in a rock music style. If anything speaks to my son, it’s music. His teacher had records up on the wall with the classroom number in the center of the records, “A Star is Born” over the kids’ birthdays, a “Reading Rock Star” sign and much more. I dropped P off and headed straight home where I “made” the pail (I dug out chalk and wrote ‘Reading Rock Star on it. Hard work, I tell ya.). It’s not intended to be an incentive. While incentives have worked in the short-term, they don’t in the long-term. Instead I decided to give him a rock every night he finished his 20 minutes so he could see and feel how much he’s been reading.
After two weeks, I can say it’s working. It’s still a challenge to get him to sit still for 20 minutes and read next to me while I read my book, but I can see he’s super proud when he puts another rock in the pail. When I casually ask him how many rocks he has in his pail, he doesn’t need to check, he already knows and he answers me in minutes not # of rocks. He may not be super jazzed to start reading each night, but I hope the rocks (and our persistence) are growing a long-term reader, rather than a “Will read for bribes” opportunist.
*Technically (P’s new favorite word) he can be read to for the 20 minutes a day or we can do half and half, but since he’s too stubborn to read the guidelines, it’s Mom’s Reading Rules!