I started an upper grade reading program at my kids' elementary school a couple years ago. Each year we tweak it a little bit, trying to get more kids to participate. Well, we've hit the jackpot. We have so many kids participating this year, I don't even know how we will afford the prizes for every one.
But this is where the dilemma comes in. The kids get different prizes for reading certain amount of books. 10 books is a small prize, 20 books a bigger prize and 30 is the biggest prize. At least half of the books must be read off of a certain list of books to get each prize.
We had our first prize redemption day today and almost all of the kids coming to get prizes had read 10-17 books--a reasonable amount for less than 2 months of the school year. But these brothers came in with 30 books signed off. All 30. These boys are not smart kids or fast readers. At least the one Emma's age is in resource/special ed. Their mother is more than half a bubble off as well. What I think they did is write down all the books the boys have ever read, that they can remember.
The younger one, who's Emma's age even told me, "Some of these I've already read."
"Well," I said, "I don't want to know what you've already read, bud. I only want to know what you've read this school year. If you read it during the summer or last year--it doesn't count. Here's a pen. I want you to circle all of the books you've read this school year."
"Oh," he said, "but I read all these this school year so do you want me to circle them all?"
I ended up sending the boys in to get the prize for reading 10 books and asked them to come back next month to get the prize for 20. As I said, these boys are far from bright. I could get them another prize out of the 1st prize level next time and they'd never know.
I suppose I have no proof that they didn't read all those books, but I just don't know how to deal with it. I mean I have 20 honest kids, then 2 dishonest ones. Do I penalize the honest kids? Do I make them all do book reports?
Next year I'll just have to get crappy prizes, but this year the prizes are awesome. $2 prizes for reading 10 books, $5 prizes for reading 20 and $8-$10 prize for reading 30. Plus, all the kids who read 30 are supposed to get a gift card to go to a book store. Last year we had only 2 kids do the reading. This year, we'll have tons!!! But not all of them will deserve the reward.
That is my quandary. Do you have any ideas?