My daughter is not a fan of reading. She will do a math workbook for hours, but she will not sit down and read a chapter book. Understanding the benefits of reading, I try to get her to read a little every night. During the school year she is given monthly goals for the Book-It program. Being super competitive, she always made her goal. Now that it is summer, she has no desire to read. What’s in it for her in the summer? She has no classmates to compete against. I have tried to increase her desire to read by buying books she is interested in, about topics she loves, etc. They all sit on her book shelf gathering dust. So after learning about reinforcement in this class, I decided to try this:
I decided to experiment on my 9 year old daughter with a rate of reinforcement increase to test if her production would increase. I gave her a minimum goal of 80 minutes of reading. If she read 180 minutes, she would be able to choose the movie (with no arguments) for family movie night. At 100 minutes, I would camp out with her on Saturday night. For 120, she was allowed to have a sleepover. And for a whopping 140 minutes of reading during the week she was granted ALL 3 incentives. I cannot believe it worked as well as it did. Mind you, she read not one minute more than 140 minutes, but she did it! She choose the higher rate of reinforcement; melioration.
I understand that with the contrast effect, the motivation impact these incentives have right now will lose their appeal in time. I can either hope it continues to work through to September when school starts again, or I will need to change the stakes to keep it interesting. I am just happy she got in some reading this summer!