Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Reading at the Bribery

Though I read to my daughter when she was a little girl, once she was in school and knew how to read on her own, I began a systematic method of bribery to get her to spend more time reading.

She was a social butterfly and liked to play with friends or watch TV more than read. I knew there must be a way to get her to explore the joy of books without forcing a resentful child to sit through bedtime with mother reading another boring story. Or so, that was my thought process at the time.

The bribery system worked so much better for both of us. No longer would she have a shortage of cash to expend on her heart's desires, and no longer would I worry that she'd never develop a love of reading.

I bought many books from thrift shops and yard sales. Investing in my child's future reading pleasure was worth it. The easy reads, the ones with the delightful pictures, I wrote "10 cents" on the inside of the cover. If she read the book, I gave her ten cents. The not-so-easy reads, with less pictures were 25 cents. Books without pictures, still within her reading level were 50 cents. And books beyond her reading level had a bribe price of one dollar.

Now, you may think this is a perfect system for my child to get money for doing nothing. But, as a part of our pact, my daughter gave me a synopsis of the story or book she read. In the beginning this habit was developed and not too long after, I realized it wasn't necessary. She did not have to prove to me that she had read any book she said I owed her money for.

One night I awoke to realize a light was on in her room and wondered why. I got up and discovered my little girl sound asleep, book still open in her hands reading the story in her dreams.

Once all the books with the bribe prices on them were gone, my plan succeeded. She became a voracious reader. It was no longer necessary to bribe my child to read. After all, she was choosing her own books. And now, decades later she gives me books and makes recommendations as to what I might find interesting. Now, if only I could get her to give me money for reading them!


  1. I did the same with my boys, and though they don't read as much as I'd like them to (They're dyslexic and had such difficulties readying at all.) but they all read!!

  2. yes...I remember the system. To bad it didn't work with 4 out 5 of my kids. Although now 4 out of 5 are avid readers. My grand kids will read with no bribery at all :-). Sorry i don't send bribery money back...it all goes to the kids and grand kids. :-)

  3. Super! I have one who reads and reads, usually nonfiction, one that reads infrequently, and one who reads regularly.

  4. What a lovely way to get your daughter reading, and it clearly worked.

    I read voraciously as a child, and still do as an adult. For me it was escapism as a child ~ it was like having the key to a secret garden full of friends and adventure ~ and I just couldn't wait to sneak in to it. I even used to read under the bedclothes with a torch when the lights were put out.

    I've just read a brilliant book (in the last 2 days) called "The Irresistable Inheritance of Wilberforce" by Paul Torday. I couldn't put it down, and it stopped me in my tracks ~ and as I read the last words in the book I had a moment of epiphany. I suddenly realized with absolute clarity, something about my life, childhood and now ... more about that another time though. It's not for public consumption.



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