Motivating your reluctant reader: A penny a page

Motivating a reluctant reader: one method that gets children reading.

Many times I am asked the question:  How to encourage reading.  Here are a few ways I have found helpful…

You can create a treasure box and reward your reader for time spent reading.

You can let your student choose his/her own books.

You can create a cozy reading nook.

You can introduce the student to books on tape, or the ipad.

You can give them comics or magazines to read.

You can create a book club.

Mrs. Karle has been known to motivate little readers by paying a penny a page.  She currently encourages my little readers (her grandchildren) by paying a penny a page.  For each library book they read, they need to count the pages and record it in their little reading notebook.  When they see her, she always asks them if they read any books, and she pays them a penny a page for their efforts.  She asks them what they read, and, if she knows the book, she asks them questions about the book.

A not so distant time ago, my brother (Mrs. Karle’s son), was not very motivated to read.  I believe he was 12 years old, and he had other things he wanted to do for the summer.  He really wanted a bike.  Well…  Mrs. Karle offered him to pay him a penny a page so that he could earn the money to buy his bike.  She also told him she would match penny for penny his efforts…(so, she was really paying him two pennies/page).  Anyway, my brother got to work and read vigorously each day.  In time, my brother bought the bike with the money he had earned from reading all summer.  To this day he says he has never had to work so hard in his life!

Another fun thing Mrs. Karle liked to do on car trips was to pay her children a penny a mile for quiet time – either reading or sleeping.   This money would become spending money when we arrived at our final destination. So…  next time you are on a car trip – offer a penny a page to read and a penny a mile to read – and you are sure to have a peaceful car ride at least for a little bit.  We use this trick with my little ones and it is always a big hit.

If you liked this post, you will also like:

How to encourage reading
How to help a struggling reader
Preschool Behavior Mangement:  How I helped my son with anger and frustration



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Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound ReadingMrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.


  1. I love doing things while traveling. Even today, without children in the car. Great ideas and sharing

    1. You can pay yourself a penny a page… maybe even listen to an audio book. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love these ideas. I will be trying a few to help at our house!

    1. My kids really love the penny a page and penny a mile… it is a win-win…they get vacation spending money, and we get some peace and quiet!

  3. I would go broke for the penny a page, as I have three that read quite a bit; but the penny a mile might work great this vacation!

  4. United States says:

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.|

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