A few months back, near the start of the school year Arlo's third grade teacher mentioned what a strong reader he was during my parent conference and showed me how he had tested at the top of this class in all of the reading sections, which I was somewhat surprised to hear. Not because I doubted his ability but because it got me wondering why, if he did excel in that area, I really didn't see him reading much outside of if what was linked to his regular homework requirements.
And then it hit me, I had been making the mistake of assuming that an early love of reading would simply root itself if it were ever going to at all. I had enjoyed books around his age and picked them up on my own accord, but see now that that's not always the case. Expecting him to fall in love with it on his own felt like a lazy mistake on my part but at nine years old, I also knew it wasn't too late to fix.
I decided to give him a little push without making it seem like anything of the sort - so I used what I know motivates him best (at this age, anyway) Money. I told him I would give him 20$ if he read the entire first book of Harry Potter and could explain to me, in detail, the story's main characters and overall premise. He happily agreed and blew through the book in a week with ease. Laying awake every single night after his bath, tucked in bed ultimately falling asleep with the book on his chest. When he was finished the first he begged for the next in the series and two months later he is just beginning book four. Now he genuinely looks forward to the end of the night, to climbing in bed to pick up where he left off the night prior. I even caught him curled up in a corner recently reading during a movie he put on with a school friend here sleeping over. Needless to say, so far it's looking like the best 20 bucks I ever spent.
This weekend I made him a couple custom denim stitched bookmarks using fabric scraps, super thin plastic strips / cardboard hot glued with a little felt marker up top and sewn around the bottom edges. A really quick, easy project with all required tools I already had on hand. A cute way to keep his pages marked instead of the old dog eared tricks he's been relying on for weeks.
Thinking I'll whip up a couple extra, maybe slightly more colorful versions this evening in honor of "teacher's appreciation week" which starts to tomorrow. We have five days to fill, which means ten contribtuions and tomorrow's flower themed suggestion just might work pretty perfectly here.