When our teenagers were younger, we made the decision to reward them after they’d read their first “big book.” This was defined as either a biography or a novel, age-appropriate. Ballet Boy, who was 8 at the time, read a really old copy of Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans that we’d gotten at an antique store (I believe it’s a first edition from the late-1800s; you can get an updated copy from Amazon in paperback for $7.95 or on Kindle for free). Scorpion (then 6) read Charlotte’s Web. When they’d finished, we got them each a trophy that reflected their interests, which at the time were Ancient Egypt (Ballet Boy) and knights in shining armor (Scorpion). They still have both of them.
Now Grasshopper is (finally) starting to read more. He’s about 3/4 of the way through his first big book: Holes by Louis Sachar. He’s always been a huge fan of audio books, and has listened to all of the Wayside School books (except one… keep reading). He really enjoys Mr. Sachar’s writing, and when my husband asked me who Grasshopper’s favorite author was it was an easy question to answer. Will then proceeded to get onto the Barnes and Noble website and order a signed copy of the newest Wayside School book, Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom. Grasshopper is so excited to get to read the book that he’s really pushing himself to finish Holes. And in the process, he’s gotten to the point where he’s reading everything he sees from street signs to billboards to cereal boxes. It’s really rewarding to see him finally care about his own literacy!