How to Motivate a Reluctant Reader at Home!



















My Reading Incentive Ideas for Home

There are so many ways to motivate a reluctant reader (which also includes a struggling reader) at home, the trick is to find THE ONE that works!

I’ve written a few posts about reluctant readers. My posts on how to help a reluctant reader, how to get a reluctant reader to read, how to help your struggling reader at home, etc, all have great ideas to check out, but this post is on specific incentives to try with your child!

It takes some patience to motivate a reluctant reader at home,  but one of these four incentives may just do the trick! This post is on a few ideas for reading rewards as different ideas work with different kids. The first incentive is done in some classrooms so I thought it would be a perfect (and easy) visual incentive to do at home. The others are additional ideas that may just do the trick!

And don’t forget about the power of competition! If there’s a sibling, or a neighbor that wants to use the same incentive, game on!

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Before you Begin the Incentive Ideas

You can purchase the items from this page or use similar items you have at home. You may also come up with your own idea, that’s completely different! Do whatever works!!!

I highly suggest having your child be a part of making suggestions for how to use this jar (or the other incentive props) and have your child be a part of the decision making for both the goals and rewards.

I would promote this incentive by telling your child that you found a fun idea to get the family reading, etc. And it definitely would be great if you could actually read while your child is doing their extra reading. I am assuming that your child has to read 20 minutes a night, so this incentive would be beyond the 20 minutes. That’s just my suggestion, you know your child!

The goal of these incentives are to get your child reading more so they start to enjoy it more and then they read more!! And maybe you won’t need the incentives after some time has gone by, or maybe you will want to change the ideas so they’re easier for you.


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How to Motivate Your Reluctant Reader at Home

The Marble Jar Incentive

For this incentive, all you simply do is add a marble to the jar every time your child completes a part of a goal. Write the reward (ideas follow below) on the jar, and every time the marbles meet the lines, your child gets the reward. My jar (at the top of this page) has 4 lines with 4 different rewards – you can have as many as you want. The first reward I put on my jar would just be 1 row of marbles which is how you want to start – EASY so they’ll have quick gratification.


Mason Jar
Masking tape
Permanent marker

My 2 cents:
Try to pick an obtainable goal – kids need quick gratification or they may lose interest. Play around with a quick easily attainable goal versus a goal that takes longer.

The Goals and Rewards


THE GOALS – Here are a few of goals to use with this jar (and the other incentives below):

Put in a marble for every minute over the normal 20-minutes of nightly reading.
Place a marble in the jar for every page read after the 20-minute nightly reading.
Place a marble in the jar when your child finishes a book.
Drop a marble in the jar when your child tries a different genre.
Put in a marble in the jar if your child writes a quick summary of the book.

You can also decide on more than one marble for each time your child finishes part of a goal. Writing these goals down on a piece of paper, a poster, etc. may be a good idea so that there are no questions. You may decide on multiple goals, for example:

Put a marble in the jar for every page your child reads after their 20 minutes. And in addition, if they finish a book or try a different genre, add extra marbles. You make the rules – I’m just throwing out suggestions.

You can also use my Reading Challenge document from another post for ideas and give your child a marble (or more) for each item completed. If you’d like the document so that you can print it or edit it, email me at












THE REWARDS – There are tons of rewards you can pick, for example:

Let your child stay up a half hour past their bedtime.
Give your child a dinner at a restaurant and they pick of a restaurant.
Give your child a coupon for ice cream.
Go to the movies.
Give a $20 bill for a shopping outing.
Have them pick out a new book.
Plan a  popcorn party.
Host a game night.
Make a library date.
Make a date to make brownies.
Plan a sleepover.
Have a pillow fight.


A Few Other Ideas for Reading Incentives

  1. Add a smiley face sticker to this incentive chart for any of the goals completed from above and then give your child any of the rewards from the above rewards list when they finish the whole card, the whole role, etc. You make the rules however you see fit.
Incentive chart

2. Use the puncher to punch the punch card for any of the goals that have been completed from the above list. Then give your child any of the rewards from the above list when they finish the whole card, half the card, etc.

Punch card

3. GIve your child a raffle ticket for each goal they finish and give them a reward from the reward list above.

Raffle tickets

If you want to start out this incentive with buying a new book, check out my page on book suggestions of all different genres. This post goes over ideas for reluctant readers.

And Check Out These Great posts and pages:

There are ways to motivate a reluctant reader at home. I hope these incentives help! Getting kids to read and to love reading is not a simple task,  and it takes a different amount of time for each child.

I’d love to hear from you so let me know if there’s something I can help you with (and for you to let me know if you tried any of these incentives)!  Please leave a comment or question below or email me at