The phrase “never say never” can most definitely be applied to my thoughts of giving my kids an allowance. I thought they were too young for an allowance. At 8 and 10, my kids really have no need for one, right? An allowance is for teenagers who can drive themselves to the movies. Or so I thought.
Listening to a podcast by Sarah MacKenzie , of The Read Aloud Revival, completely changed my mind. She was on her favorite topic of raising readers and one of her ideas really struck a cord. A loyal fan of hers shared how she gives her kids an allowance–for books! Each kid in the family gets a monthly allotment of money to be used on books and only books.
How much money should you give them?
The amount of the book allowance is up to you, of course, and should reflect their age and where you plan to purchase the books. We primarily buy books at Goodwill and thrift stores, so my kids will be getting 5 bucks a month. They are free to save up for a book from their school book fair or Barnes and Noble, if they’d like. But, I think I am also teaching them a little about the value of money–their five dollars can go pretty far if they are thrifty.
What should you let them buy?
Your kids should be allowed to buy any book they’d like-barring anything completely inappropriate for children, of course. It is important for kids to enjoy what they are reading and to see reading as something they prefer to do in their spare time. And so, you may have to waiver a bit and let some Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants creep into the cart.
Giving your child time to choose a book is very important. Whether they are combing the aisles, remembering a title that a friend recommended, reading the back cover, or spotting a favorite author, finding a book that interests them is a great skill builder all in itself. We can easily spend an hour in the book section of any store.
Giving kids an allowance for books is a brilliant way to support your little-and not so little readers. One of my sons is still a bit reluctant to pick up a book on his own and letting him choose whatever he’d like to read makes sense for him right now. I want him to be excited about reading. My older son gets excited to find vintage titles and old, interesting comic books. I usually end up finding a book or two, myself!