Grand Rapids teacher makes reading fun with meaningful incentives

Posted at 10:00 AM, Mar 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-11 07:03:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- For those who don't know, March is National Reading Month. Many schools around the country have fun activities they do to encourage their students to read more.

It's one of the most important tools children learn in school, but motivating them to read on their own can be a little difficult.

There is however, one teacher who is making it more fun and meaningful for her students

Jennifer Welch is a kindergarten teacher at ISJ Academy in Grand Rapids.

The school does a reading incentive program and getting her young students to read can be difficult sometimes, so she came up with a few rewards they would really like.

"Their goal for each month is 350 to 400 minutes, so about 100 minutes a week. When they reach that goal, they get a book. From October to December when they reach their goal, they earn me coming to their house to read a bedtime story to them. Then from January to April, they earn a special field trip for the end of the year," Jennifer said. ​

One of her current students,  Christopher, earned enough points for the special reward; his teacher coming to his house.

His mom, Tracy Bradburn, shared a picture of the moment on Facebook of her two kids being completely awestruck having Christopher's teacher there reading them their bedtime story.

"He's always been a great reader. When she first came over here, he thought a famous person was coming over he was so excited when she got here," Tracy said.

Jennifer added, "Some of them are speechless, some are wound up and they don't know what to do, asking questions and running around so sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get them ready to sit down on the couch or bed, so that we can read. But they're always really excited and get real bashful about it."​

It's a gesture that goes a long way for the students and parents, and Jennifer says she doesn't do it for the recognition, she does it for the kids

"Because it's fun. School should be fun, teaching should be fun. The joy that it brings to the kids and the fact that it encourages them to read is enough for me," Jennifer told FOX 17. ​

The kids, parents, and even fellow teachers love Jennifer's fun incentive, and she says the proof is in her students progress.