In order to ensure that your goals are met, incorporate some rewards based on reading. As opposed to physical rewards, the most beneficial reading rewards are experiences:
Take a book-based trip. If your daughter reads a book about the circus, consider attending one. If she reads a mystery novel about a stolen painting from a museum, go visit a museum and look at the paintings that spark her interest. The whole family can get involved with these trips as well. This sends the message that adventures and excitement begin in books – but can be carried over into everyday life experiences.
Make book-based foods. Depending on the book that your daughter is reading – choose a food that the characters eat and have a cooking adventure together. For example, if your daughter is reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, attempt to recreate some of the fantastical candies that are featured in the magical story. Alternatively, if she is reading Louise Fitzugh’s Harriet the Spy, concoct your own tomato sandwiches that are so delicious – they might be stolen too.
Another great way to get your child involved in reading (and to show her the power of reading) is to get her involved in reading to others. If you know of a local elderly relative, neighbor, or friend who is housebound, consider setting up a weekly “reading session.” Your daughter could perform a mitzvah and also learn that her proficient reading can positively affect others.
Of course, the summer is about the warm weather, family time, and relaxation. The key is figuring out how to make those pleasurable parts of summer merge with some educational activity. This way, when your children get back to school, they won’t be faced with “brain drain” and can pick up right where they left off. Or, if done right, you never know, they may even get a head start on the rest of the year.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at email@example.com.
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