Should you bribe your children to read?

A New York Times article by KJ Dell’Antonia looks at the pros and cons of bribing your children to read, and the research and experts’ responses may surprise you.

Everyone agrees that it’s essential that all children be encouraged to read.  When reading is difficult for them, so is almost everything else. As kids get to be better readers, every subject from math to history becomes more accessible – and practice is the only way to get there.

So how to make that happen?

Many parents fall back on bribery, paying per book, minute or page in currencies ranging from toys to screen time to cash.  But many studies show that paying kids to do things they once enjoyed for free can backfire; many kids stop reading when the rewards dry up, while those who aren’t rewarded carry on reading just for fun.

Some experts actually agree that rewards can be useful, especially for younger learners who may benefit from a jump start or a short-term intervention.  But they don’t have to be money or things.  Dr. Rahil Briggs, director of pediatric behavioral health at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.  “It could be that it’s a special treat to go to the library with Dad, and that alone time is part of what’s rewarding about it.”

Dr. Edward L. Deci, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester agrees, saying nonmaterial rewards may be the most effective.  An excursion with a parent, or a special time reading together and discussing books, convey the importance of reading because your valuable time has become the currency.  Family trips to the library can become precious events to children.

“Money may be motivating,” concludes Dell’Antonia, “but so is living in a home where books and reading are part of family life.”  As Dr. Briggs noted, reading together, choosing books, talking about words and stories, even going to the library, is a lot harder than taking a dollar out of our wallets.  And probably more valuable in the long run.

Wanted: Two ESL instructors

Your library is looking to hire two ESL instructors to teach speaking practice, vocabulary enrichment as well as reading, writing and language skills to students learning English as a second language.  These are new part-time positions working five to six hours a week, including four hours of class time.  One will teach beginning skills and the other more advanced.  For more details, see the job description on the library’s website.  Experience is required, and salary is commensurate with experience and knowledge.  Please drop off a letter of interest and resume to the library or email meg@pagosalibrary.org with these files.

Library foundation fundraiser concert

On March 8, the new library foundation will host Moors and McCumber for one night in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. Local festival-goers will remember Moors and McCumber from their popular past visits to Reservoir Hill. They craft beautiful story songs that walk the line between rootsy folk and melodic pop.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 6:30 p.m. with an opening show by the Pagosa Springs High School Americana Project students. Moors and McCumber will play at 7:30 p.m.  Entry to the concert is by donation, with a suggested contribution of $10 per person or $25 per family. All proceeds from the event go to the library foundation.

Text alerts

Just a reminder that your library has a program called ShoutBomb that, when signed up, allows you to receive text messages on your cell phone when items you requested are ready for pickup or when items are overdue?  You can also use this service to text the library to renew items.  It is available in both English and Spanish.

Signing up for ShoutBomb is free, though standard text rates do apply.  This service will only work with phones that can receive SMS text messages and most smart phones should qualify.  To sign up for ShoutBomb, log in to your account on your computer and click the button on the left that says, “Sign Up for Text Message Notifications.”  A document will open up on your computer that explains how to sign up for ShoutBomb.  It takes only a few minutes to sign up, but you will want to have your library card handy.  Of course, you can always speak with one of our friendly library staff and we would be happy to help you sign up for ShoutBomb.

Activities calendars available

To be sure you don’t miss any of the free activities available to you and your families at your library, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the events calendar each month.  There are three versions – kids, tweens/teens and adults.  We look forward to seeing you at your library.  Se habla espanol.

All-ages gaming tomorrow

Join us tomorrow, Friday, March 1 from 2-3:15 p.m. for a free all-ages gaming session where you can enjoy video gaming on Wii and X-box 360 Kinect with your friends and family.

Paws to Read Saturday

This Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m. – noon, youngsters from K-fifth grades are invited to share their favorite books with Hondo, a therapy dog who loves listening to stories, at a free Paws to Read session.  This is a great way for beginning readers to build confidence.

Tween gaming

Free gaming for 4th-8th grades is Monday, March 4 from 4-5 p.m.  Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

Teen gaming

Free teen gaming happens on Tuesdays from 4–5:30 p.m. for teens in the 7th-12th grades.  Enjoy X-box 360 Kinect, Wii and snacks.

New Knitting-plus Club for teens

Next Wednesday, March 6, this new free club meets for the second time from 4-5:30 p.m. for 7th-12th graders.  It’s called the Knitting-plus Club because it includes not only knitting but also crochet projects, needlepoint and more.  But note that teaching will be available only for knitting.  This club is being formed at the request of several teens, and the plan is to have the group meet monthly.  The next couple of months will be a test period. Bring your knitting, crochet or needlepoint projects and hang out with other crafters.  If you don’t know how to knit, come anyway and we’ll get you started on some of the basics.

Women’s Wellness

Next Thursday, March 7 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. is the second session of a new free women’s wellness program for women ages 21-64 facilitated by San Juan Basin Public Health.  Note earlier starting time from February session.  Also please note that there will not be any actual physical examinations at the library.  Rather, the sessions will provide education on about where and how to access cancer screenings, assess barriers to screening for breast and cervical cancer, and help with information about women’s sexual health.  You’ll also hear about free or low-cost services offered by San Juan Basin Health such as women’s, children’s and infants’ services, Connect for Health CO, Nurse-Family Partnership and SafeCare.  Light refreshments will be served.  No registration required.

Avalanche awareness

Join Mark Mueller next Thursday, March 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. for a free presentation about avalanche safety.  Mark is an avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which says that avalanches are the deadliest hazard in Colorado.  This talk could save your life.

Teen advisory board

NextThursday, March 7, the teen advisory board meets from 4-5 p.m.  Bring your fun and innovative ideas to help us plan teen programs.  Share an idea to pick out a free book.

Computer classes

Join us for free sessions from 1-2 p.m. on alternating Thursdays to learn a useful technology skill or application.  March 14 covers how to create professional looking resumes on Microsoft Word.  March 28 details how to navigate commonly used features on your Windows, Android or Apple smartphone nor tablet.  No registration required.  

Adult education

Our free PALS (Pagosa Adult Learning Services) takes place on  Mondays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., plus Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 7 p.m.  Come to your library to get help from Mark with high school equivalency, GED, college prep, financial aid, tutoring and more.  Note that PALS will not take place the week of Spring Break (March 25 – Mar 29). PALS generally follows the school schedule, so when they are off, Mark is off. 

Free tech sessions

Drop in with your technology questions on Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-noon and Thursdays from 2-4 p.m.  

Family storytimes

Every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. and Saturday from 9:30-10 a.m., join us for free great stories, fun songs and plenty of reasons to get up and move.  This is an excellent way for kids of all ages to have fun while building the skills they need to become independent readers.  Both storytimes are open to babies, toddlers and youngsters of all ages to make it easier for parents to attend with their children depending on their busy schedules rather than the age of their little ones.  Wednesday, March 6 will feature ukulele songs and story performed by the Snell Family Siblings.

Books on CD

“The House Next Door” by James Patterson contains three thrillers.  “The Burglar” by Thomas Perry features a sophisticated young female burglar who becomes endangered after stumbling upon a triple homicide.  “Verses for the Dead” by Preston & Child is a mystery featuring FBI Special Agent Pendergast. 

Programmed Nooks

We have nine free Nooks and three free tablets programmed for your e-reading pleasure.  The eight adult content e-readers contain either fiction or nonfiction bestsellers.  The four youth e-readers contain books for children, juniors and young adults. 

Downloadable e-books

Current New York Times bestseller downloadable e-books are being added regularly to our free 3M Cloud Library.  Access them by clicking on the 3M Cloud Library icon on the home page of our website.  While there, browse through a multitude of other adult, juvenile and children’s books, both bestsellers and classics in many genres.

Downloadable films

For your viewing pleasure, we offer IndieFlix, a free streaming movie service that gives you unlimited access to more than 7,500 award-winning and popular independent shorts, feature films and documentaries from more than 50 countries – on your device, PC or Mac, with no apps needed.  Access IndieFlix through the Downloadable Content icon on the library’s website.  Use “Quick Pick,” the discovery tool that lets you sample movies like you would music.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials this week, we thank Alan Saltzstein and our anonymous donors. 

Quotable Quote    “There’s an old saying that I very much ascribe to.  When somebody says, “You can’t do that,” my response is, “Well, I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t try.”  The truth is that you never know what you can accomplish until you give it your best shot.” – From “Let’s All Make the Day Count” by Charlie Daniels, instrumentalist, lyricist and singer, known for his contributions to Southern rock, country, and bluegrass music.

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