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Rewards are Potentially Harmful in Reading
« on: February 07, 2009, 10:46:37 PM »
A very interesting article I've read from my friend's blog,, who is an English teacher by profession talks about what she has learned from a seminar by Stephen Krashen ( who is globally renowned in the field of linguistics and language education.

The article has mentioned that giving rewards for reading is potentially harmful in developing a child in becoming a life-long reader. WHY? First, it has to be understood that reading is not something that should be done in order to get reward because reading is a reward itself. Their is pleasure every time we read.

Questions may arise as to how to convince children to read considering that most of them have negative attitude towards reading. SIMPLE! We have to understand that as human beings, we have unique interests and so why not capitalize on our interests? If a child is interested at toys, do not force him/her to read Science books because you would certainly lead the child to hate reading in his/her entire life. If a child likes robots, give him books that's all about robots. In that article, Krashen dubbed it as the HOMERUN in reading.

Anybody here who loves to read? I am very sure that all of you have this one book which reinforced your love for reading. Try to recall, I know you have it. That book is your homerun according to Krashen.

In schools, we could observe that children are, often times, rewarded for reading. However, what kind of books can we find in the library? Math, Science and other non-interesting books for the children. Next time, instead of awarding those readers, capitalize on purchasing books which are of children's interests.

Back in college, there were more students who would pay for membership and in-house reading at Matthew Book Club (along Lessage Street) than spend time reading at the college library. What's in Matthew Book Club that's not in the college library that students love to go there and pay instead of spending time at the college library for free? We all know the answer.

To develop children/adults to become life-long readers they don't need to be forced or rewarded. This coincides with "Choice Theory" of Dr. William Glasser ( which states that (1) all we do is behave, (2) almost all behavior is chosen and (3) we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.

Applying in the context of reading (or learning in general), we do choices everyday (eat or not eat, study or not study, learn or not learn, etc.) and so the same thing must drive the students to read (or learn):
1. Give them freedom (do not force them to read/learn)
2. The students will soon find reading (or learning) as way to feel love and belongingness
3. They will realize very soon that they need to read (or learn) in order to survive
4. Until they will strive to read (or learn) in order to acquire power


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