Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Summer Reading Prizes....Friend or Foe?
For me, I'm behind the scenes throwing together a summer reading kickoff party, typing up excel spreadsheets of participants, explaining the prizes. It's a chaotic time, but the kids seem to enjoy it a lot. This year in particular, I decided to do something new... I challenged the kids to read more than me. I've got my own log on the front of the desk, keeping track of the time that I read. If the kids read more than me...
... they get to throw a pie in my face.
Drastic, I know. But honestly, if it gets them excited about reading, why not? I've had mixed responses to the pie idea from mild amusement to outright shock. One person even told me it sounded like a principal desperate for publicity. Please! At the very least, I'm a desperate celebrity hunting down paparazzi with a cream pie.
But the question becomes, are these prizes useful? The whole point is to get the kids reading and have them enjoy it. Are they so focused on the prizes that they don't enjoy the reading? I had one girl tell me that she was going to wipe the smile off my face with a pie. Cheeky, but I admire her spirit. But are they so blinded by the prizes that they're not enjoying the printed word? Educational psychology tells us that extrinsic motivation (rewards) can be useful in motivating individuals that aren't motivated intrinsically (have a love of reading) but that through the act of reading, they might discover that they actually like it.
So as that pie is headed towards my face, I'll just have think of all those budding readers. Or I'll just think that I'm getting married in a month. Either way, I'll smile.