Darcel - posted on 07/20/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )
I am a librarian for a public library. Most libraries in the USA have a Summer Reading Program where we offer donated incentives and rewards for completing reading goals.
As a librarian whose goal is to encourage the reluctant reader and his family to participate, I can give plenty of evidence that the reading rewards do work, but only to a point. A child may participate to earn the rewards, but does not always find a joy/love of reading. Some children will not read or participate in the program no matter what we do, and on the other end of the spectrum, we have some "prize hustler" familes who try and take advantage of the program breaking rules and attempting to collect multiple prizes.
Today a parent emailed my library to complain that she didn't feel as though her childs prizes where worthy of the reading she accomplished, thus her childs reading was a complete waste of time!
At this point I am really fed-up. My libraries summer reading commitee spent countless hours courting businesses requesting that they provide us with FREE (as in donate) materials to give to our Summer Reading Partipants. The library does not charge anyone to participate in the program. Everyone participates knowing in advance what the rewards will be. So to hear someone complain, I wonder what is the whole point of all of this? Should we even offer the rewards?
Sometimes I think that my library should toss the rewards aspect of the summer reading program and insist that reading is its own reward. Just like earning an "A" on your report card should be a reward within itself. But then I know if we do this, we will not have a carrot to dangle infront of the reluctant readers, in hopes that they might develop a joy/love of reading.
Okay now that I have vented, any thoughts?