I am not above bribery as a parent. I can especially justify it when it is for a good cause. My bribery has taken the form of summer reading charts, with prizes earned for each set of twenty books read. At first, getting my children to read while on summer vacation was quite a challenge. As a children's book author, the irony of this is not lost on me. Children learn when learning is made fun, so how can I make reading compete with the swimming pool?
I decided to make an adventure with the children of going to Office Max, picking out graph poster board, the best markers we could find and smiley face/sports balls stickers to document our reading successes. We/I then copied (in not a short amount of time) the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network's (HAISLN) list of suggested summer reading. It's a fantastic list of recommended reading for children in grades Pre-K through 12th grade. I highly suggest you check it out!
Our next adventure involved visiting the public libraries around our house to find books on our lists. It was an educational scavenger hunt, and the kids loved it! Now, both of my children (who I'll remind you did not want to spend summer vacation reading), have had a blast reading, marking off their progress with their favorite stickers, and reaping their just rewards with a trip to the toy store. My daughter even chose to forego toys for more books in her favorite chapter book series.
My lesson in all of this? Bribery works.