We began a new system in our home this week. I felt like there was too much television watching and not enough reading. Sure, we read a lot, but when our family curriculum revolves around reading a lot of classic books it cannot be done well when there is too much movie watching. My husband and I discussed this and a light bulb went on in my brain and I came up with this new system.
For every book read they earn an hour and a half of movie watching.
The rules are:
1) They cannot be baby books or below their reading level. Mom approves the book after discussing their book suggestions and if the child has no suggestions then mom gives ideas.
2) They pick the books. Nothing is more boring that reading an assigned book.
3) An in depth oral exam will be issued after each book. If a child is found to have lied about reading a book, that child will lose an hour and a half of TV. It pays to be honest.
4) The television watching will be redeemed when mom or dad gives permission.
5) If all the children read their book(s) and can watch the movie and one child did not. That child will spend their time during the movie in another room reading their books.
We have already presented this to the family. I am so excited to see their enthusiasm for reading flourish. My daughters are requesting set aside uninterrupted times for reading throughout the day and an hour extra at night to read. They also have been having more impromptu book discussions with me and are excited to share with me their future reading lists. I am so excited to see this little fire lit within the children and the rewards for their hard work are motivating as well as appealing.
My husband is a non reader. I asked him if he would take the challenge and lead the family by his example. I am a voracious reader so I will keep up my reading and each year I make it a goal to read more. My husband agreed to try again. The only book he's read all the way through since I've known him (14 1/2 years) is In Loving Hands. We have been listening to Dave Ramsey and my husband really likes him and is interested in learning more of Dave's system. We went to Barnes and Noble and bought The Total Money Makeover. Tears come to my eyes as I see him reading during his spare time. We found something that interests him!
We have a large family library and I continue to add to it so that the children can always have something to read. My son learned that he loves the Magic Treehouse books. My son was a very late reader, but has recently discovered he is getting better at it. To excite and motivate him I bought him another book in the series yesterday- Viking Ships at Sunrise. He began reading it today. Before lunch he excitedly announced to me today that he finished the first chapter.
We also are doing the same thing with music. The older children can earn computer time one for one for each hour of violin or viola practice. The younger children will learn hymns and receive voice lessons from mom for their music time. My older girls have already earned their computer time today and are excited to redeem it! They love getting on www.goodreads.com.
We are thrilled over the excitement the children have in this program. I am excited because reading is happening more which means learning is increasing too. We have had to change television habits, but it has been worth it. We all know it is more fun to earn something and you enjoy it more.