Home > Baby, books, parenting > spotlight: book thoughts and the ‘Penny a Page Plan’

spotlight: book thoughts and the ‘Penny a Page Plan’

Everybody knows how important it is to read to children.*

This is especially true for Christians, who want their babies to grow up to be children who enjoy reading and adults who delight in the written word – who love their Bibles.

20081230-storytimeWhat can parents do to cultivate a hunger for reading the Story of the Bible, the Story of Jesus?

I ask myself this question a lot.  We can read to them from day one, find books that capture their attention, minimize their time in front of a television, model a love for reading by being avid readers ourselves, but what are some other ways to raise up little book lovers?

My buddy Nate, a recent graduate from Union University, blogged about his dad’s plan for ensuring that Nate and his sister Joanna would grow up with a book always close at hand.

I have made his post this week’s spotlight:

Growing up Joanna and I received our allowances in a different way than most kids.

We got money for reading.

Allow me to explain.  For every book we read we would recive a penny a page, thus you have the name of this plan, The Penny a Page Plan.  This was how my parents fostered a love for reading for my sister and I.

As we grew older and into the later teenage years my dad uped the ante. The rules of the plan changed to this: For every nonfiction book we read we received 5 cents per page and for ever book that my dad recommended that we read we received 10 cents a page.

My dad was pretty fortunate after the rules changed for two reasons:

  1. The books that he recommended were very difficult to get through.
  2. By the time the rules changed Joanna and I were no longer reading for the money, but reading because it was something we loved to do.

I am grateful to my parents for putting this plan into effect in our house growing up. 

Nate, thanks for the thought provoking post.  I appreciate your new blog, it looks great.

The ‘Penny a Page Plan’ is a creative way to encourage children to read – it was obviously effective with Nate and his sister.

. . . . . . .

Engaged Reader: Here’s my question for you (all of you), how is it that you learned to love reading? or did you?

What is your personal narrative of your relationship with the written word?

Share your story on your blog or in the comments below, I would love to learn from your experiences – for better or worse.

* (not everybody knows how important it is to read to your children, more on that in an upcoming post)

  1. December 31, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Hi Lee and Beth,

    My answer is threefold, 1) I think God just gave me an inherent love of reading. I alwasy enjoyed reading in school, Language Arts was always my favorite subjetc, etc. 2) My grandmother purchased books for me ALL the time. Granted, usually they were things like The Baby Sitters Club, not exactly high art, but I’m pretty sure every time I visited her (which was very often) she would take me to Walden Books and I would get to buy 2 or 3 books I wanted. I was also given them for Christmas from she (her?) and my parents. They fostered my love by providing new things for me to read. That’s how I read most of the Roald Dahl books, a couple hundred Baby Sitters Club, and all of the American Girl books (fictional characters set in a historical setting such as Victorian America, one was an immigrant, etc). 3) In Junior High I discovered this marvelous thing called a *library* where I could borrow as many books as I wanted for free (gasp)! I filled my card front and back and had to get a second one. That was when I decided I wanted to be a librarian. True story.

    Sorry that was so long. It was great seeing you guys!!


  2. January 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I hated reading as a kid, and confess that I still do not really ENJOY reading today. I make myself do it, because it is important, not because I like it.

    I grew up in the generation preceding yours, where money was not so frequently awarded for making good grades, or for simply reading a book. And allowances were paid for the completion of chores, like yard work and cleaning house. We live in a different time today, not better, not worse, just different.

    The end result of being paid to read for your friend was positive, in that he became a lover of books. However, Sarah made an interesting observation, and I agree with it. I wonder if the outcome for Nate was a God-given love for the printed word, or if it was the financial motivation. My gut tells me it was the former. But, I say that because, I doubt that my attitude toward reading would be appreciably different if my parents had paid me to do it as a child.

    I doubt that you can EVER go wrong with reading to Abbey. But that, in and of itself, may not make her a lover of books. This matter, along with many more are issues that a parent can only lay a sound and solid foundation. The joy and heartache of parenting is watching and coaching through the process of the child becoming an individual, building on that foundation, but importantly, making decisions for themselves.

  3. Brandon
    January 3, 2009 at 12:54 am

    I can’t actually remember how I began to love reading. I’m pretty sure my mom bought me some Christian fiction novels back in the day (when I was 6 or 7) then I began to eat up the “Goosebumps” series (yep…). I loved reading after that. When I got into high school, I made friends with some folks who didn’t read so much, so I also dropped reading for a while. But when I came to know Jesus, my love for reading was reawakened as I realized that, in order to learn, I had to read.

    I think that’s about it. John Piper was also very encouraging in my quest to learn by reading.

  1. January 3, 2009 at 3:25 am

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