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Using Incentivites (aka bribes)

At the end of the third box of Bob Books, we are going to the AG store!

At the end of the third box of Bob Books, we are going to the AG store!

Sometimes early readers just need a little push.  No, that doesn’t make you a tiger mom.  I know from experience that this happens with teachers in Kindergarten classrooms too.  Sometimes early readers need a push.

They’ve got the skills.  They know phonics.  They can sound out words.  But it’s still a bit hard.

That’s why it’s helpful to make it worth their while.  The more practice kids get, the easier it will be to read.  The easier it will be to read, the more they will enjoy reading.  The more they enjoy reading, the faster they will develop advanced skills.

Incentives, bribery, whatever.  I don’t care what you want to call it.  But I know it works.

With my son Bruce I offered a new Star Wars book for every 6 Bob Books he read.  But it’s been harder to find an equally attractive book incentive for Jenna(4).  So finally we paged through the American Girl catalogue and looked for something exciting.  Hence our new chart featuring Rebecca Rubin.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I used a dot stamper to represent each Bob Book twice.  The chart includes all of the books from sets one, two and three.  So once Jenna has read every Bob Book in sets one, two and three twice, she’ll earn Rebecca. I’m crossing them out as we go along.

Getting through the third set of Bob Books would mean having first grade reading skills.  To me, that’s worth $110!


  1. thegirlwhopaintedtrees says:

    We’re currently trying to get through the 3rd Bob set with our just turned 4 year old. We’ve used bribes in the past. They usually involved a dye-free gummi bear per Bob book read that day. So if he wanted to eat more than one gummi, he had to read more than one book. This worked well for set 1 and 2, but is proving more challenging for set 3. I need to figure out a way to teach him the phonograms better so he can be more successful with the books in that set.

    • One trick I used to use with Bruce was to lightly trace over a Bob Book, make a copy for personal home use, and then change the names to names from our family. I’d also mess with the animals. So “Funny Bunny” might become a book about his uncle’s cat.

      LOL on the dye-free gummies. I use dye-free jelly beans for a couple of reading games. I was at the store the other day and they came out of the bulk bin way too fast. In retrospect, I should have put some back. When I got to the register it was $16!!!! So now we are set for a long time.

  2. […] been cranking away at Bob Books, and filling up her chart, but then she decided to take a break, and I honored […]

  3. […] looking at the final five books my daughter Jenna needed to read to complete her reading challenge and earn an American Girl […]

  4. Jeanette says:

    Just curious… What level is the 5th set of Bob books? Our preschool-aged son is currently running his way through them (basically a book every 1-2 days and are currently midway through the sight word collection). While I fully expect him to slow down a bit as they get harder, I’m wondering where we’ll end up when he finishes the whole shebang. And while this is maybe a question for then… what comes after that?

  5. I would say Level 5 Bob Books are exiting 1st grade. The next step would be something like Frog and Toad books, which are beginning 2nd grade. After that, branch into Magic Treehouse. (Pun not intended.)

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