Summer Reading Challenge

I'm not a big marbles jar / sticker chart sort of mom... however, I think they're great for certain seasons. Potty training, was the first time we tried a sticker chart. Then there was the brotherly love chart which worked like a charm to inspire kindness between our three preschool aged kids. But, for the most part, I've wanted the boys to learn to do right without the bride of a sticker or a marble. That said, now that they are getting older, reward charts are making an annual summertime appearance in our home, and this time our prize is money!  

Let me preface this post by confessing that I believe parenting is a lot like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks! What sticks for one family, may not stick to the kitchen walls in another family's home. Same is true from kid to kid. But that's part of the treasure hunt we're on. We're figuring this out as we go, and what works for me may not be right for another. That's one of the reasons why I appreciate hearing what other moms and dads are doing when it comes to allowances and chores, family devotions and disciplining techniques. I'm always on the lookout for inspiration and trust that you are too.


And with that brief introduction, let me tell you how we incentive our three sons - not with stickers or marbles or matchbox cars now that they are older, but with cold, hard cash.

Let's talk money

Before I tell you the specifics of their summertime reading challenge, I've got to confess that we reward our young men with money for their grades each semester as well. Since we don't give our boys a regular allowance (gasp), we use their grades to teach them that "a worker is worthy of his wages." (1 Timothy 5:18). For the rest of their lives, when they work hard, they'll get paid. Each morning their dad heads off to work, demonstrating a good work ethic for us all! When I head off to speak at conferences, they help me tally the books that I sold and see the income I brought in. At this time in their young lives, school is our boys' main work - therefore, it is also their main source of income. During the school year we pay them for their grades twice a year.

A = $10

B = $5

C= -$20

If a child has 6 classes and straight A's, he earns $60 at the end of the semester. However, if they gets 1 A, 4 B's and a C he'll end up with 10 greenbacks in their wallet. I also give them the chance to put their money into a savings account that they can't touch until they turn 18. For every dollar they're willing to save, I'll match it dollar for dollar. So basically, if the kid earns $60 and wants to keep half of his money and defer the other half to double his reward, I'll give him $30 now and deposit $60 into his account.

Again, these sort of blog posts are fun to read because they get us thinking outside of the box and trying new things. Of course this isn't a one-size fits all formula. Okay, now onto our...


Summer reading challenge

When my husband was a boy, his dad paid him a penny a page in the summers. Today we pay our boys 25 cents per chapter for age appropriate books. (Inflation) We pay the boys halfway through the summer, about the time we go on a family vacation. That way they have some spending money that they've earned for our travels. And then again at the end of the summer.


image-2The first few summers I was that Pinterest-worthy mom with her fabulous, glittery poster-board. Last summer, however, they kept track of their own books on a sheet of lined paper by their bed. Not very fancy, but it sure is fun. All the kids have to do is list the name of the book, along with the author and the number of chapters. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy! 

This year I tried to get crafty again, and made this darling sheet for them to track their books. Download yours here.

Again, and I hope you hear my heart on this, it doesn't matter what you do or if you pay your kids this summer... but do something! Give them a challenge, and watch them rise to meet it. And make it fun!



Here's a list of some of our favorite boy books!


Stay tuned... in my next post, I'll be sharing details about our other favorite summertime challenge, which includes great gobs of EXERCISE for little boy bodies on long summer days! Don't miss out: sign up for email updates from our Summertime Series: BOYS right here.