Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Support Reading and a Whole Lot More

So, go to the above link to read about an idea sponsored by Heifer International, an organization that works to provide people in some parts of the world with things like cows and goats so that families have a way to have food.

My idea is this: Put spare change in a cup or jar. Label the jar even - maybe 'money for other people'. I don't know. If you know a child learning to read or who you want to encourage to read, or reward for being an amazing natural reader, offer to let them take money from the jar when they read to you (because what's the fun of the kid reading and you not getting to share in the experience?). If you don't live close to them, have them read to you over the phone or webcam or they can even record themselves reading or videotape it and send it to you. However you want to do it (turns out that reading to someone who is intent on hearing you read, is a great motivator). Anyway. Explain that the child needs to keep the money safe to give to this cause (because we are not paying the child to read. No need to bribe them. But it's also okay to let them see that something relatively passive, like reading, can affect the world. Or our role in it.)

Find out what the minimum donation level is for an organization like Heifer International. It's just an example. You can let the child donate the money to a different organization, they may even like to take the money to buy books or toys or clothes to donate to toys for tots or some similar program.

the idea is, start this with a child capable of not putting the money in their mouth - start young. You do not need to wait til the child is 9 or 10 to encourage reading, reaching out to others, or saving money. Any child who won't choke on the penny can participate. How? If you've got a two year old, let them read a book to you. No, they do not have to say the words on the page yet, though there's nothing wrong if they can or want to try. But they should be able to turn pages, hold the book themselves, and maybe make up a story or point to pictures. For that matter, a 12 month old should be able to start learning how to point to pictures. If you start developing the skill in the child and focus on how important it is, it will be important to the child.

Anyway. Haven't got any kids of my own, but, this is an invitation to clean out my spare change kids! The money is only available if you have a plan of how you will donate it to change the world. you can read pretty much anything you want.

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