You may also want to read the following article: How to help my child capture the Value of Practice, Vision, and Reading.
In normal life, a child should be encouraged to do what is right for the love of virtue. That is, to do what is right because it is the right thing to do. However, when a child suffered failure in learning to read because we as adults – understandably - simply did not know what was going on and lacked the means to effectively help them, then it is entirely acceptable to consider introducing some form of reward or incentive.
Consider involving the parents and discussing some forms of incentives. Some incentives you may be able to create within the school environment. Others, the parents/caretakers may be able to do. Parents/caretakers can e.g. consider a trip into town with them to get some special attention and a treat. For another child it may be honor before siblings or grandparents. Others may be touched by a monetary reward, like a salary payment of some sort. Within the school setting other reward are applause options may be possible. We encourage you to be creative in this and use appropriate short term and long term incentives to encourage and reward good performance.
Following the example of one of our experienced users, we have produced a Progress Chart which you may choose to download (click here to download). You can print it and add it into each child's reader folder. You can agree on a Date to try to master each Group Part and enter that date in the Completion column. Alternatively, you can simply log the completion date.
If you agreed on a target completion date, you can introduce some form of reward or privilege when that target date is met. This may trigger additional drive, plus anticipation and excitement to receive the reward.
A word of caution: Few people like to know ahead how much work there is to do. It is often much better to work at a project step by step or stage by stage. You may want to introduce one page of the Progress Chart at a time, or cut them up to blocks of just ten lessons.
When a Group is completed you may choose to grant a day off from the regular program and suggest to review only words and previous readings: breaking the routine for a day. Rereading the readers in a focused manner and applauding the progress made can be a rewarding experience for all.
Using the earlier mentioned Progress Chart, you may set up a plan that will offer the biggest reward in the end. Dynaread readers need to be re-read to drive the individual words deeper and deeper into the Fast Route or Lexicon Route reading system.
Keep track of each time a child is able to read a lesson's reader without any significant assistance. Mark such an occasion with a star (the child coloring in the star). When all the stars of an entire Group have been colored in, you can celebrate the accomplishment and consider that Group's readers done.
This approach may work well for a child as it allows to see the progress. Many children love to see stars celebrating their progress.
Dynaread progress is highest when a child works with the program twice a day. Since children who are past the first Groups can work with Dynaread semi-independently, you can discuss an incentive to reward completing two sessions each day. Many households have internet access at home. Encourage parents/caretakers and children to take the time in the afternoon to do another session on their own.
Word Game: Hole-in-the-card.
Make a game out of reading the words. Different competitions can be developed but a favorite may be, "If I read this sheet accurately in less than ___ minutes I will receive ___."
Or another favourite may be, "If I read this page sufficiently accurately in less than ___ minutes, write or say five sentences using the words I read." The parent who shared this approach wrote to us: “We have developed a number of different games and we oftentimes end them with hugs and laughter. A good break from the intensity for a struggling reader.”
Word Walls are also a very effective tool to help increase your child's exposure to words which are still producing struggles. Do write a sentence or two in much smaller print below the word on each word card. Ideally a sentence from a Dynaread reader. This will allow the word to be read and recalled from within a proper sentence structure. For more on Word Walls, click here. Word Walls may also be a way to get the parents/caretakers involved. The child may take a Word Wall card home, and stick it on the fridge or on the door in the bathroom.
When a child has had a particularly tough week of reading in which the efforts were sincere but progress more difficult, reward the effort with a day off. Read to them from a favourite book instead of doing a Dynaread session. This way the child will recognize that you are aware of the hard work and considerate of it. Reading a book together is always fun and still role-models the value of reading.
About Jason, when in Group 37 - Chameleons - Part IV. His parents shared with us the following:
Jason now oftentimes has the first sitting of his Dynaread program done before breakfast and since we started again after the summer break, I cannot remember once that he has complained about reading! I have to tell you that I had tears in my eyes this evening as we gathered for family time. When my husband asked Jason to read a passage from the Bible, his older brothers sat numb and dumb as they heard him read. When he finished the text they said, "Wow, Jason, you read just like us now!" His eyes beamed and he could not wipe the smile off of his face. My husband winked at me as tears welled up in my eyes. Thank-you, Dynaread! We are so thankful for your program. You have blessed.
About a student shortly following graduation of Dynaread at completion of Group 45. His parents wrote:
My son is eleven years old. He was 10 when he started the Dynaread program. It wasn't too difficult at the beginning to motivate him because he was able to work on the computer which he had always wanted to do and I had stopped his phonics and reading programs which had been causing stress for him. Later on (around Group 24) when the reading was considerably longer, I ran into some major motivation problems. I found though, if I got him to do it at the right time of day, he was more willing to do it.
Part of the problem turned out to be that he did not know when he was going to be finished (how many lessons). When I wrote an email and was able to tell him that there were 45 Groups altogether and that he only had 15 to go, things brightened up for him.
Towards the middle of the program I ran into another unexpected problem. He began to want to read other material than the Dynaread readers. In particular, he wanted to read a text book that I had purchased for him on small engines. I took the advice that I received from an email I sent to Hans of Dynaread and sat down with him and listened to him read and corrected his pronunciation where needed. It was not long after that he put it aside for a while. Now he reads the Small Engines book all the time and explains to me what he has read. I am happy to see the smile on his face because he can read and understand. He is learning so much about small engines.
My husband and I also decided to offer him a reward since this was the first tough challenge that he had faced. We offered him a special reward for finishing the program within the allotted time. That was the clincher that brought him to the finish line. Along the way I also talked to him about the importance of perseverance and gave him some examples of historical figures and people in the present (the lead singer and song writer for Casting Crowns is dyslexic). I know this kind of sounds like I had some idea of what I was doing but really I just prayed a lot and trusted that things would work out in the end. Praise God, they did! What sealed the deal for me was after he had finished the program. He came to me one day with a smile on his face and said, "Mama, I'm proud that I can read!" - and so he should be!
Thank you to everyone at Dynaread for your commitment to creating programs and supporting parents, teachers, and students in their quest to learn to read. I have already passed information about Dynaread to a couple of people who asked. I will continue to do so in the future.
Please do remember: We are here to help. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enormous difference in his ability to work.
My son recently graduated from the Dynaread program. The reason I so highly recommend Dynaread, in short, is because I went from a son who struggled to read a sentence unless it was something he had memorized, to someone who turned to me after graduation and said "Mama, I am proud that I can read". What more could you ask?
Shelly van Heyningen
Dynaread respected my child. With the help of Dynaread he is now standing tall, he is confident, and he can read just like his friends.
British Columbia, Canada
I just wanted to let you know that Aiden is loving the Dynaread program and enthusiastically works at it two times a day. He is proud of his progress and finds the topics interesting. We are currently using it exclusively as his language program and supplementing it with additional cursive work using the readers as the written text.