And believe it or not, I'm pissed.
"Reading books is a sweet treat!" it says. And then it encourages my child to color in a cupcake every day that she reads a book. At the end of the month, I sign it, and she takes it back to school, and they give her a certificate for a child-sized pizza at Pizza Hut.
And you know what?
I threw it in the trash.
I mean, I get that we're not normal. I spend 95% of my free time either reading or writing. There are towering stacks of books in every room. And we buy books for the kids, too. I almost never turn down an intelligently worded request. There are books on the floor and the kitchen table and the stairs, books under their beds and in designated book boxes and stuffed between the car seats in my car.
No one in our house can walk three feet without encountering a book.
And I know that we're incredibly, incredibly lucky, and that not everyone has the access to books that we do.
But coloring in cupcakes and turning in worksheets and earning $3 worth of pizza? That's not how you turn a kid into a reader.
If you want your children to read, you buy them books. You read them books. You ask them to read books to you. You let them see you reading. You make sure that books are always around, waiting to entertain and delight. You make books into friends that you can turn to again and again.
You make books a priority and a fixture.
This worksheet is not a philanthropic way to encourage children to read. It's a great way to sell pizza to parents rewarding their kid for coloring in cupcakes. After all, your kid's pizza is free, but mom and dad and the other kids are going to want to eat, too. So basically, you save $3 on your kid's pizza and spend $30 on unhealthy food for the rest of the family instead of spending that money on, say, BOOKS.
So yes, books are a sweet treat.
But please don't pretend that your ad from Pizza Hut is encouraging reading.
I deeply resent the fact that public schools allow this crap into my life.
You know what's getting my kids excited about reading?
It's not pizza.