How Can You Raise a Lifelong Reader?

In 2018, I read 52 books. In 2019, I read 53 books. In 2020, I’m on pace to read 54 books.

How did I develop such a deep passion for reading?

The answer is probably not what you think…


Who knew that 12 year old Scarlet would be so incentivized by cash? Hopefully that says more about society than it does about me as a person.

By the time I was 16 or 17, reading had made me $1,050.

You can imagine how much money that felt like at the time! (Hint: A lot of Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts.)

I’d like to thank my two English teacher grandparents for instilling my love of reading in my heart.

For anyone struggling to incentivize their children to read, for school or for fun, I can’t suggest what my grandparents did enough.

Of course, this means that you need some spare cash on hand.

But maybe not as much as you think…

My Grandma and Pap started what they call the “Reader Rewards Program” for not just me, but my three younger brothers and our two cousins. In all of our childhoods, I’m the only grandchild to have completed the program.

So a caveat — that money may not motivate everyone. Or it might, just not enough to pick up a book. But it worked for me. So much so that I don’t even do it for money anymore.

I do it because reading keeps me sane. Reading transports me across distance and time.

If you’d like your kids or grandkids to have those same feelings as I do towards reading, try the Reader Rewards Program below.

Here’s how it works:

My Pap would provide us with sheets to track the books we finished, the authors of said books, and the page count.

We would keep a running total of how many total pages we had read.

When that total hit 5,000 pages, he sent us a big congratulations and $5 in the mail.

As we continued adding to that total, we would receive $10 for reaching 10,000 pages and so on, and so forth. All the way to 100,000 pages.

Let’s add some quick math into this piece of writing…

If we say an average book is roughly 300 pages, that’s approximately (100,000/300) 333 books!

It may not look like that math adds up quickly. After all, we’d have read 15,000 pages and only had ($5+$10+$15) $30 to our name.

And yet, it does add up. Like I said, I made over $1,000 with this!

Just think about what it looks like when you’re reading the same amount of pages between each goal, but you’re towards the end of the program… $85+$90+$95.

All you have to do is make it to that point.

So, how can you raise a lifelong learner?

Find what incentivizes them, and reward them for picking up that book on the bedside table.

That simple act could become a future safe haven for a young adult, or maybe even make a kid want to grow up to create the kind of worlds they only found in the pages of a paperback. A future author could be born.

That’s what my Grandma and Pap did for me. Look at me now… in bed reading my next book. And not making a dime for it.

It’s worth it.

Red Hot Reads | © 2023 by Scarlet Marie

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