Setting Up a Reading Challenge with Rewards

Our eldest grandchild has just entered 4th grade; she will soon turn 10 years old. Yikes! That’s double digits, I’m not sure Grammie is ready for time passing so quickly but she is. We don’t reveal our grandchildren’s true names at their parents’ request, which we totally respect so you will see the children’s nicknames in replacement. “Bear”, as she is affectionately known, is growing into a fine young lady. She is beautiful, sensitive, caring and artistic. If I sound like a proud grandparent I am but she truly does possess all of these characteristics.

Bear also has become quite a good reader. In fact she loves to read, much to her Grammie’s delight I might add. I am always seeking creative learning experiences to share with my grandchildren that I then like to pass on to you my readers. Because she is of an age now that her comprehension and reading skills have grown immensely I have come up with a plan for a new learning activity for her and me to venture into. This school year I am Setting Up a Reading Challenge with Rewards for Bear.

While we love being with all of our grandchildren we also like to give each of them individual exclusive time for memorable events with Grammie and Poppy. This idea came to me as a new tradition to start with the grandkids. When the younger two reach the same age, they too will have their chance to share in the fun and adventure.

Reading Challenge with Rewards

So I bet you are wondering just what this reading challenge is all about right? Well let me explain. My husband and I love to take day trips. We like to call them our mini-adventures. We live in an area that is full of cultural and historical events that take place all around us at different times of the year. You may also live near where similar experiences take place. You can find your state’s visitor’s bureau on the web for more information.

This idea came to me after one of our most recent trips. I said to my husband that I would really like to start including the grandkids on our adventures. He thought that was a great idea. So I started scouring for likely sites to visit. While I’ve come up with a few, which I am sure to be writing about soon, one in particular stood out to me.

You see we live in North Alabama, near the city of Tuscumbia. Most of you are familiar with the life of Helen Keller. She is the deaf and blind girl that teacher Anne Sullivan helped to escape from a world of darkness over a century ago. This timeless tale of courage and discovery has been depicted in both a book/play and movie titled “The Miracle Worker”.  It has even been performed on the Broadway stage.
The Miracle Worker (Paperback)

Planning for the reading challenge with rewards:

  1. Purchase a copy of the book – The Miracle Worker
  2. Purchase a copy of the movie – The Miracle Worker
  3. Visit the Birthplace of Helen Keller

This, I thought, would be perfect for Bear’s first reading challenge. Now we are not rushing this challenge. It is meant to be spread throughout this school year because she has homework and other activities that she is involved in. I plan to keep the book at our house so that she and I can read it together. We like to read this way, she takes a turn then I do, we have read numerous books like this it has become quite a nice family bonding time for us.

After we finish reading the book we will have Bear over to spend the night and we will watch the movie together. I am sure that will involve a big bowl of popcorn cuddled up on the couch together as we watch the characters come life on the screen. It will be very interesting to see her reactions and listen to her comments about the book and the movie.
The Miracle Worker (DVD)

Something else that I discovered to add to the list of rewards for this reading challenge was there is a whole festival devoted to Helen Keller in the great town of Tuscumbia that happens during the month of June. That will be perfect timing since she will be out of school for the year. We plan to take Bear with us to visit the birthplace of Helen Keller and see a play that depicts just how the “miracle” took place. I think that she will really enjoy this part of the reward for the reading challenge.

I am really excited about this first experience with Setting Up a Reading Challenge with Rewards and will plan on others too. I can hardly wait to get started on this one. Soon we will be building more memories that will last a lifetime. I am filled with gratitude for being given a chance to share in this special time with our granddaughter. I know it is one that I will continue to treasure.

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