Boyish Rewards for Reading

Anything to get people reading, these days!

Pop culture: school bribes boys to read with Coke

New Zealand boys’ school boosts consumption of books with sweetener of free cans of pop

Alison Flood

They say that every man has his price – and now a New Zealand school has discovered that the cost of getting a teenage boy to read is a can of Coke.

Rongotai College in Wellington is currently trying out a new scheme to get boys reading, offering them a can of drink if they can prove they’ve read two books, a voucher from Subway if they are able to stretch to five, and a movie voucher if they can make it to 10. The school says the scheme has been so effective that library book borrowing has doubled since it launched.

“Boys don’t read enough. Some are only reading one book a year, so we want to push them. We are not trying to turn them into English students, we just want them to read books,” teacher Kit Norman, who is in charge of the scheme, told New Zealand website Stuff.

“I am the first person to admit it is a bribe, but the results speak for themselves.”

If pupils can read 20 books – proved with a reading log and with parental guarantees of home reading sessions – they are awarded a mobile phone voucher, with each class’s top two pupils winning a school blazer, and the top three students overall taking home a clothes voucher.

I think libraries should do a reading starter rewards programme like this, to get the community to start reading!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. museditions
    Jul 05, 2009 @ 02:54:11

    Wow! I have mixed feeling about this. As someone who loves to read, and has read a lot ever since I learned how, it’s hard to imagine someone not wanting to. Still, bribing people (and why just the boys—discrimination) doesn’t seem right. Perhaps what should be addressed is how reading is taught? 🙂

    nylusmilk: i know what you mean. i love to watch the tube or movies, but nothing can keep me from my love for reading. at first i thought it’s discrimination too, but then it’s a programme at a boys school so i suppose that made sense.

    even among adults, females read more then males, if one were to generalise. i remember reading that romance is the largest-selling genre among all the books!


  2. KittyCat
    Aug 16, 2009 @ 07:33:10

    Hi there – thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 As a former English teacher, I can vouch that boys do need a bit more motivation to pick up a book and read it. Some do get hooked after being introduced to a few good reads. But I don’t like the idea of using Coke! Sounds like good thing in exchange for a bad one 😛

    nylusmilk: pizza then, instead? pizza’s always good anytime! haha. 😛


  3. Josette
    Aug 22, 2009 @ 18:08:02

    I don’t mind receiving Subway and movie vouchers for the books I’ve read!

    But yeah, it’s a good start, I guess. With so many types of distractions around nowadays such as the TV and the Internet, concerned folks will do just about anything to bring back the reading habit.

    We should do something about improving reading in our country too.

    nylusmilk: i wouldn’t mind that too. 😉 on one hand, people think that the reward would be in discovering the joy of reading. once you actually realise you like reading you won’t need rewards like that. on the other hand, in order to get them discover the joy of reading, temptations like rewards need to be given first!


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