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Book Club for Kids is a podcast where middle school readers discuss the books they love with host Kitty Felde. The author answers questions. A celebrity reads from the book.

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Tips for Creating Lifelong Readers

Filtering by Tag: bribery

Tip #52: Buck a Book

Kitty Felde

Hooray for Books readers

Is bribery ever a force for good? It was for Renee Archer.

Renee is a physical therapist in Washington, D.C. We met when I came in for treatment of a rotator cuff injury. (No, I wasn't pitching for the Dodgers.) In between the stretching and strengthening exercises, Renee confessed that she wasn't much of a reader when she was a kid.

That changed when an aunt made Renee an offer she couldn't refuse. The aunt handed Renee a box full of children's books from a second hand store and said: "Read these books and tell me what they're about and I'll give you a dollar for each book."

The first book was "A High Wind in Jamaica" by Richard Hughes, the tale of two kids who survive a hurricane. Renee said, "I was hooked."

Next, she gobbled up Judy Blume's "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret." She took it to school where the novel's frank language about bras and boys made her instantly popular. "I have been reading ever since," she said.

Not all experts agree that simple cash can turn kids into lifelong readers. But if you use financial incentives to inspire a reading habit, you're not alone: asurvey in Britain found that more than half of parents admit that they've used bribes to get their kids to open a book. 

Does it work?

I asked Renee how much money she earned as a buck-a-book reader. "After the first book," admitted Renee, "I never even thought about the money."

What do you think? Is bribery the best way to get a kid to pick up a book? Join the conversation of our Facebook Page!