Promoting Summer Reading With Movie Rewards

National Amusements, "a motion picture exhibition company," has announced its 13th summer of Bookworm Wednesdays, a program designed to promote summer reading for children by rewarding them (and their parents) with free movies every Wednesday at 10 throughout the summer. Children are required to present a book report on what they have been reading. If they are not at the reading/writing age, they are encouraged to draw a picture about a book that an adult has recently read to them.

Part of me loves this idea; after all, it is promoting summer reading (as well as writing about said reading), and demonstrating to kids that there is a reward for this reading. But another part of me (albeit a small part) balks a bit at rewarding reading with a movie. Not that I don't love movies, and recognize that kids love movies, but it seems like a fine line between encouraging reading as a habit and promoting the idea that once you get your reading done, you can move onto to the really fun things in life (like movies).

Maybe I'm being overly critical. And like I said, it's only a small part. And I should add that I do not have children and I naively insist on believing that the future little McHughs that run around my house will like to read more than anything else, so I've never faced the issue of encouraging children to read first-hand. I'd like to see what you all think.

So... what do you all think?

1 comment

  1. That's a really good point. First of all, I'm always a little apprehensive about "rewarding" reading, but the fact is that essentially bribing kids works pretty flipping well. In fourth grade, students who read according to a certain criteria would get their picture put on our "Book Star" wall - it was a delightful race to see who was the very best (the competition drove us to read more and more). In sixth grade, we were tempted with gift cards if we read above a certain number of hours throughout the year...

    But in order to effectively bribe, there needs to be a lucrative reward. After all, these are kids who are relatively open to the idea of reading. If they weren't, they wouldn't even bother. This is just a fun way of getting them a little more excited. A weird notion, but one that's ultimately pretty effective.


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