- I had a hard time getting my kids to read, especially the younger ones, so I decided to pay for them.
- I give my daughters $10 for every book they finish, and it’s costing me over $100 a month.
- My youngest went from one or two books a year to reading at least five a month.
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Although I have encountered all the common problems raising my children to the age they are now, I have to say that the current phase of parenthood is proving to be the most difficult. My daughters are 10 and 12 at the moment, but I will be having an 11 year old and a 13 year old in a few weeks. Instead of dealing with the diapers and nap schedules of years past, I’m now dealing with “interpolated” attitudes and a lack of motivation in general.
Example: My youngest child stopped doing chores he wasn’t specifically asked to do a few years ago, and that includes anything from putting his bowl of cereal in the sink to hygiene basic. The result is that I have to tell him to do everything time and time again, from brushing your teeth to the daily shower. It’s not that she won’t do these things if asked; she doesn’t do anything uninvited.
Unfortunately, this same theme applies to schoolwork and reading, and his reading scores in particular were starting to show it. After a few conversations with my husband, we decided to do something.
Why We Pay Our Kids $10 For Every Book They Read
Like any other family, we struggle to keep a regular schedule when it comes to chores, homework, and reading. My husband and I both work too, so we don’t always have the energy to constantly remind ourselves (and the kids) of things that need to be done. We used to aim for our kids to read 30 minutes a day, but we get busy and forget and our kids certainly don’t remind us.
That’s why, starting in early 2022, we started offering our two kids $10 for every book they read with the promise of a monthly payment. Besides reading, all they have to do is create a written invoice for the awesome books they read in a given month. Then, at the end of the month, they receive money for each book read from start to finish.
While that might sound like bribery for something my kids should be doing anyway, we’ve already decided that $10 per pound is well worth the investment in our eyes. Research shows that children who read are ahead of their peers when it comes to learning. Children who read also tend to have a larger vocabulary and improve their comprehension faster.
Of course, reading also lets kids use their imaginations and get involved in something that doesn’t require WiFi – a rarity these days.
On a personal level, we decided that all of these reasons were enough to pay for every completed book, whether they choose popular books or books we’ve never heard of. So that’s exactly what we started doing.
How paying $10 a book changed reading in our home
When we first told our kids that we would pay them $10 for every book they read from start to finish, they could hardly believe it. My eldest, motivated by money, immediately started doing calculations.
“Does that mean I could make $100 a month for 10 books and $1,200 a year if I did it all year? she asked.
I hadn’t quite calculated the long-term costs of our offer, but I told him that was the case.
From that day, my children started to read more often and for longer. My eldest (who is already reading) has become more focused on finishing the books than she was before. She completed eight books and earned $80 in the first month after this incentive started, and she earned $70 for seven books in the month of February.
The change has been even bigger for my youngest child who has completed a total of one or two books (if that) for the whole year in 2021. She’s not as money driven and she’s reading a bit slower, but she still finished five books in the first month we started paying to read. She keeps a permanent journal in her bedroom that shows the books she has completed, and she is also on track to read the same number of books this month.
My husband and I frequently ask her questions about the books she reads, and we can already tell that her comprehension is improving considerably. Where she once struggled to explain what she just read, she now sits us down to elaborate on the characters and storylines that most interest her. And while we ask her to read at least 30 minutes a day, she often gets lost in her books and reads much longer than that minimum amount.
I currently pay over $100 a month for my kids to read books, which puts that bill on par with other household expenses like our cable bill and phone bill. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I’m beyond thrilled with the return on investment I’ve received so far.
Funny enough, my two kids have used some of their earnings so far to buy more books. If I had known that spending more than $100 a month would help me achieve this kind of result, I would have started years ago.