Toddler School

The Reading Tree & Summer Literacy Incentive System

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Alas, it is officially August 1st, and our local library, which we love is taking their summer break. We now face an entire month with no Motion Monday, Story Time Tuesday or Thumpin’ Thursday. Summer Reading is now all on me, Mom. But no fear… I already have a plan! In fact, I’ve had this plan for a very long time and my kids are finally old enough to do it! #momwin.

Please allow me to introduce…

The Reading Tree.

The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading. This has been a dream of mine since I was planning my would-be kindergarten classroom. If you’ve been following on Instagram you’ve seen the Hooligan bedroom and Literacy Corner progress. But finally, I now reveal my ultimate game plan… Summer Reading Motivation! {It will be pretty awesome in the fall too!… Just you wait!}

I painted the Literacy Corner in their bedroom a few months ago. We have always had the plastic gutters, but now they serve as branches. Today, I added the limbs to the canopy which you can see are now darned with paper leaves.

Cash just turned 3, and he always has his nose in a book. It’s no surprise really, we’re big readers. But now, I think it’s time to take the next step.

This August my Literacy Goals for Cash {and Wyatt} revolve around storytelling. I am encouraging his literacy growth by introducing books about Fairytales, myths, Knights & Princesses, Super Heroes and all that goes with them including role playing, dressing up and creating our own stories.

So here is the game plan for August:

 

The Reading Tree

I really always wanted a system where you could “fill something” and earn something. Remember in Elementary school when we all behaved well to fill a jar full of marbles or moved a space ship across the solar system for a pizza party? Yes, those things are seriously my favorite childhood memories of school… but I like to win things… so there’s that…

When I was planning my own classroom {back in the day} I always envisioned a tree with leaves, which then begged the question, “What eats leaves?” I settled on a bear {just go with it} because I knew there were these clear cookies jars shaped like one. Turns out those bear cookie jars aren’t all that easy to find… so I ended up ordering mine on Amazon. I got what I wanted though!

The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading. The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading. The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading.
 

How it all works

The idea is, Cash picks a leaf, does the reading assignment and then drops it into the bear. When the bear is full we’ll go on our incentive trip. For this round I’ve chosen The Gilbert House, which is an interactive children’s Museum right here in Salem. Cash has been there before and LOVED it. So he will know exactly what he is working towards by reading.

Making the leaves:

Today we went to the store and bought the green paper. I simply typed up the leaf prompts in a word document and then selected to print 9, 4 and 2 per sheet. I inserted the proper color I wanted into the printer and hit print. I then chopped them up into leaf shapes {errr… sort of} They’re just going to be crinkled up and fed to the bear… so go easy on the perfection. The leaves aren’t all perfectly symmetric anyway right? So we’re going for realistic… {Just go with it}

The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading.
 

Leaves:

I made 4 different color and sized leaves. The smaller the leaf, the less reading Cash does, the bigger the leaf, the more involved he is in doing a book report. Therefore, the bigger the leaves, the sooner he fills the bear.

  • Smallest Leaves– Mom or Dad reads to him
  • Medium Leaves– Cash reads a book to us or brother {we’ll go loosely here on how “reading” is defined}
  • Large Leaves– Cash answers questions about the story we read where he recalls comprehension questions including “Beginning/Middle/End” details or identifies the “Setting/Characters/Summary” of the book. Parents will write in the answers on the big leaves.

 

The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading.

Cash will get to put all leaves in the bear because that is, after all, the most gratifying part of the whole process… seeing your hard work accumulate and progress towards your goal.

Running the Reading Tree:

Now I bet you’re thinking this bear will fill up pretty quickly… But, we’re only going to do “Reading Tree Reading” twice a day; once on the morning and once in the evening with dad. Additionally, he can only do 2 leaves a day… so to fill the bear, he will inevitably have to do all the leaves… even the tough, big ones {sneaky mom…I know} I roughly estimated how many of leaves I would need to fill the bear and only made that many leaves. So, once a leaf is down and in the bear, I shouldn’t have to replace it. Likewise, once Cash “empties” the tree he should have filled the bear {I’ll adjust my math when he isn’t looking} But this way he is double enforced: Fill the bear AND Empty the Tree.

 The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading. The Reading Tree: A Reading Incentive System for Kids and Toddlers. Ways to motivate reading.

Follow along as we Feed the Bear with The Reading Tree this August on Instagram!

The first leaf falls tonight with Dad at bedtime! I’ll keep you posted!

 


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Hi There! I’m Kandice
Wife, WAHM and mother to 2 Hooligan boys, sharing my Sweet & Sticky Story of Motherhood and taking my Boys through Toddler School. We love to learn with Sensory Play, Discovery Learning and our favorite Subscription Box, Kiwi Crate! Join us for the fun!

 




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