Reaching for Stars!

July 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Zara could read, phonatically. However, she takes time to read simple sight words like their, my, we etc. I do not know what reading level children her age should be at, but I’d seen her friends in the same age group (from school, from her music calss) reading phrases with difficult words effortlessly. If I used that as a bench mark, then we’re in trouble.

I thought I’ll do something about it.

Normally in the evening, I try to spend about 30minutes with Zara, helping her with her keyboard pieces, her Chinese, her maths, and English writing or reading. Most of the time she’ll protest having to do more work (on top of her school homework).

So since last week, I thought I’ll start a reward system. Every day, if she’s done well with her extra homework from me, she gets a star. And each star is RM1. She can cash out the money at any time to buy anything she wanted. When this was first introduced, she already had things in mind that she wanted to buy. A pair of sun glasses (30 stars) and a helium balloon (30 stars).

Since the introduction of the reward system, daily, before we read her her bed time story, she’ll proactively ask me to choose the book for her to read; she’ll try to read phonetically, and I’ll help her with the difficult words. For passages which she struggled to read, I will ask her to re-read them the following day to familiarise herself with the words she found difficult.

After slightly more than a week of doing this, I could see her reading has improved a lot! She’s more familiar with the sight words, and getting better with her phonics.

These are the books I used for her reading.
Books Zara Read

Zaria seeing her sister getting stickers and all, wanted to participate too. She’ll ask me to pick a book for her to read too. Being younger, I’ll do most of the reading, but I’ll ask her to read words that are 3 or 4 letters which are spelled phonetically.

Some days, I got her to spell out the words she has read too, and she could. This was one of her ‘spelling’. She got the D written wrongly in AND, so she wrote again; and she tried a few times before she got the tricky S in STOP right.
Zaria's writing

I gave them each a ‘sticker passport’ (just A4 paper folded into 4), and their rewards are pasted on the ‘passport’. Rewards come from reading mainly, but I also give them a star if they are able to spell, do some sums, or behave extremely well.
Sticker Passport

Each day, after getting their stickers, they will count the total, and Zara woud do a count down, “20 more stickers and I can get my sunglasses.”

And Zaria told me yesterday after getting her 11th stickers, “I’m going to the shop to find something with 11 (dollars) on the label.” 🙂

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