Friday, March 21, 2014

How I Got my Daughter to READ! (Part 1)

Somehow, God gave me a couple of children who don't care for reading, even though The Genius (or should he be the Georgia Rambler?) and I were both English majors in college, and we have a huge collection of books. Evidently, I got into trouble for always reading as a child. I'm sure my mom didn't want me watching TV; she probably wanted me outside playing. And it's not that I don't want my kids outside playing, too, but if we're going to be indoors, books are better than screens.

Meg, as the youngest, came along in the age of smart phones and ipads, so she has a screen addiction worse than any of the others. I take a large part of the blame, but it is way too easy to turn on a tv, or take a small screen into another room where you can stream hours and hours of Disney Channel or Food Network! Screen addiction + no desire to read = Trouble with a capital T.

Then there's Pip who was spending far too much time "socializing" with his friends via the Xbox.

Something had to be done! The first thing we did was hide the ipad. No one misses it.

Then, I had the brilliant idea of rewarding 20 minutes of reading with 1 ticket that is worth 15 minutes of screen time. I got kudos for the brilliance of ensuring more reading than screen time. I printed out a bunch of tickets that I found on Pinterest on card stock, and they each have an envelope on the bulletin board where their tickets are stored.

We've been listening to the New Testament in the car on the way to school, so now they each get a ticket for that. It seems to make them more inclined to pay attention instead of sleep! They also end up getting one or two tickets each night for reading in bed. I forgot to mention that 20 minutes of outdoor play (or a workout) counts for a ticket, too.

The system definitely has its flaws. It's a bit more labor intensive than I would like--constantly checking on their reading or watching time, giving them tickets, taking tickets when the tv is on, etc. But, let me tell you, behavior has changed dramatically! Meg doesn't read all the time now, but she's not using screens, either. She's coloring or finding other creative activities to do. And she plays outside more, now that the weather is getting better.

Y'all...the screens are hardly on at all anymore!


  1. Going. To. Pinterest. Right. Now.

    Such a timely post. Thank you.

  2. That's awesome. I will be using this with Faith. Her go-to is Animal Jam which, though she says it's educational, is really a waste of time. I can't stand wasting time. My mother used to kick me out of the house and I would just take my book outside. Not what she wanted but I always had my face in a book. Now I listen to them all the time. Can't do the laundry without listening. It's the next best thing to sitting and reading.

    Thanks for the idea. Not sure how this would go over with the 17-year-old but I think I will give him one for one time on the xbox for studying.

    1. Besides reading, I've been thinking about how much our boys need WORK. Pip's not really happy that I'm finding lots of jobs for him. :-)

  3. It is so weird, I have noticed, that our screen time seems to come in waves. Suddenly it seems to be on all the time and then I have to go, "Whoa!" I am having a "Whoa!" moment right now. I am so tired of Clifford the Big Red Dog.
    Oh also, I was so worried about my now 15 year old. She would not read to the point I was worried she might have had dyslexia. Then she had her heart surgery at 12 and couldn't do anything. She had to lay there for six weeks. A reader was born.
    I think your idea is much better than heart surgery! lol Seriously, though, we did have to hid the iPad, too. If it is out in the living room unwatched, one of the teens will grab it. It can be a dangerous thing! I bought it for the reader apps, but the kids tend to get on Pinterest more than the Kindle.

    1. I think this is better than heart surgery, too! :-) It's amazing how much time can (and is) wasted on screens, including by myself. I'm trying to work on that, too!


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