When I was in elementary school, I looked forward to getting book orders from my teacher. I intently looked at the pictures of each book cover and eagerly read each book description. I loved feeling the coarse, cheap newsprint pages in my hand. Though the pages were thin, they held a world of possibilities! I couldn't wait to read the book I selected. Imagine my glee to find that my own kids get book orders from Scholastic through their teacher's class! Without hesitation, I order books for my kids and have found the whole exercise to be a great value for only $3.34! So what are some of the enduring qualities and life lessons that children can learn from ordering books, you ask? Well, friends, you won't believe how many there are!
1. Children Will Be Empowered
Check this out - Tell your kids they have the freedom to choose any book they want from the monthly book flyer, then pause and wait for their reaction. No doubt, you will see their minds blown as their eyes start to widen and mouths drop! You could almost see those gears working inside of their minds! Giving your children the freedom of choice will make them feel powerful and you can bet they will accept the responsibility to choose a book wisely. However, there are a couple of parameters that I set for my kids - Just 1 book. And they have a budget of $5.00. Now watch as the learning fun unfolds!
2. Children Will Read and Re-read
In their search for THE ONE book that they will order, they will read the book flyer from cover to cover several times. Never, ever will you see your kids read anything in such earnest. Ever.
3. Children Will Learn to Evaluate
While reading and re-reading their book flyer, your kids will be exercising higher order thinking skills. They will read each book description and decide whether or not they are interested in that book. Would it be worth their one book choice or not? Ask them to circle or list all the books they are interested in purchasing within the $5 budget.
4. Children Will Learn to Budget
Yes, there's a math lesson in this exercise! Kids will be trained to consider the cost of books. Is the cost of this book more or less than $5? They will learn that some purchases are beyond what they can afford and they will learn to make choices within their means - A valuable life lesson that will stick with them well into adulthood. If a particular book is too expensive, look to see if it is at the library and request it. If not, put that book title on their birthday or Christmas wish list!
5. Children Will Learn to Prioritize
Once your kids have listed books they are interested in buying that is within the $5.00 limit, have them rank the book titles in order of their "#1 Must Have" choices all the way down to their last choice. This will be difficult, but do not let them have two book titles in the same rank order. They will need to make a decision and stick with it.
6. Children Will Learn to Defend Their Position
Have your kids share their prioritized book list with you. Ask them why a particular book interests them, or why their top choice book would be a great addition to their personal library. Having a conversation like this will give insight into your child's interests and you will build important connections with your child.
7. Children Will Learn Delayed Gratification
Once a book selection has been approved and the book order has been submitted to the teacher, kids will have to learn how to wait. And wait. And wait. The anticipation of receiving their book will make them treasure their book even more.
Wait! What about the $3.34?!
Friends, here's the best part - Order the Book Allowance Coupon Booklet. There's $15.00 worth of books that you buy for $10.00. You only pay $3.34 for each coupon, but you can spend up to $5.00 for each book per order. That's a significant savings! After your kids have gone through all the lessons I shared above, you'll agree that ordering a book will be the best $3.34 you've ever spent, too.
***Tip - Kids in grades K-2 have a book budget limit of $5.00. When they get to 1st grade, I let my kids order books with a combined value of $5,00, which means, for example, they can buy a book which costs $1.00 and another for $4.00. When my kids get to grades 3-5, book budget limit increases to $7.00. When they get to 5th grade, they can defer their monthly book order budget and save it for the next month, allowing them a $14.00 budget.
***More tips - Want some more practical strategies on how to help your kids with reading and writing? Check out one of my up-coming workshops. Read up on workshop descriptions here and register here. See you soon!
For inspiration and helpful tips on parenting, check out my other blogs on GenParenting.com!