Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse

When I went to bed last night, I already had today’s post outlined in my head. The only reason I hadn’t written it was I’d been doing line edits all day and was ready to switch off the computer when I came across a post which had quotes from agents about how they turn to social media to check out perspective clients. It seems these agents want to make sure someone coming to them for representation has already created a platform and had followers and, of course, hasn’t said anything that the agent didn’t agree with. I’m sure you can figure out my response to that. It was pretty much a resounding raspberry, especially if you consider that most authors looking for agents are new authors with little to nothing published already. But, sitting down to write the blog this morning, that went out the window when I saw another post, one that should not only worry but outrage every writer, every editor and every parent. Yes, this is going to be a rant.

As a writer, my ultimate goal is to get my books into the hands of readers, preferably readers who will pay for my work. As an editor, it’s pretty much the same thing. I support libraries because they are often the first place where our kids can go to see a variety of books and to explore titles and topics they’d never have access to otherwise. Our local library has a wonderful youth services department that makes sure it doesn’t ignore children of any age, starting with story time for the youngest of their patrons.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a library card. I can remember going to the library as a kid and coming home with so many books I’d have to have help carrying them in. I’d read them all and beg to go back to get more. Being able to read and escape to all those imaginary worlds helped form the foundation that I use now as a writer.

I remember the summer reading programs and contests. You know the ones I mean. You signed up and then reported back the number of books you read. The more you read, the better the prizes. Even though I’d have been reading anyway, those contests pushed me to read even more. It was called competition. Heck, up until last summer, I still took part in the summer reading programs at the library. My own writing and work deadlines are all that have kept me from participating the last two years.

So you can imagine my outrage when I saw a Facebook post about how a librarian told a reporter that one of the kids who uses the library where she works should step aside from their summer reading contest because he makes other kids drop out. No, he didn’t go around ripping books out of their hands. Nor did he call them names and act the bully, threatening them if they read instead of giving him their lunch money. This kid’s offense was that he read too much.

Yes, you read that right. He read too much and won the contest year after year.

It isn’t even that he read all that many books, at least not in my opinion. According to the source article, the kid read 63 books or slightly more than 10 a week during the length of the contest this last time. I don’t know about you, but when I was in the fourth or fifth grade (the age of the kid in question), I regularly read at least that many books per day during the summer — and I still had time to play outside and write my stories.

But the Hudson Falls Public Library Director sees that as a bad thing because this young man’s love of reading is discouraging to other kids. According to the article, she told the reporter that Tyler, the young man in question, “hogs” the contest and should “step aside”. WTF?

“Other kids quit because they can’t keep up.” That is her justification.

She doesn’t even consider that her own rules about the contest might be the reason why some kids drop out. This isn’t your standard “read a book, list it and at the end of the time period, whoever has the most books listed wins” sort of contest. Far from it, in fact. When a child reports that they’ve read a book, they are then required to pull a slip of paper out of a jar and answer the questions on the slip. The helps confirm that they’ve read the book.

Tyler could — and did — do just that. But the fact other kids wouldn’t or couldn’t and didn’t never entered into the director’s thought process in telling the reporter that the boy should step aside so others could win.

I that isn’t enough of a mind-twister, the director said she’d planned to change the rules so that “winners” were chosen by pulling their names out of a hat, not by how many books they’d read. She goes on to whine that she can’t now that the boy’s mother went to the press to tell them about her son.

I’ll admit, when I first read about this on FB, I figured it had to be a hoax. What librarian would try to deter a child from reading and reading voraciously? That’s why I went searching for the original article, the one I linked to above. Then I remembered what my son’s third grade teacher had been like. This was the woman who used reading as a punishment. I watched student after student, my son included, turn from avid reader to kids who had to be forced to pick up a book for pleasure. She saw no problem with making sure her students, especially her male students, never read again for pleasure.

Now I find myself wondering if she and this library director are related.

Or maybe the director has just drunk one too many times from the well of false equality. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one that has caused schools and leagues to quit keeping score in ball games. It’s the one that has stopped teachers from grading homework and lets students take tests over and over and over again until they get the grade they want. It’s the well that teaches our children there are no consequences to their actions or inaction.

There is nothing wrong with a little bit of competition. That competition might just impel a child to do something they might not otherwise do — something like read a book by an author they’d never read before — and lead to discover they enjoy doing it. There’s nothing wrong at excelling either. Something, unfortunately, too many people have forgotten.

My concern for the kids who use the library mentioned in the article is great. I am also concerned about the library aide who lodged her concerns with the library board. If the library director wants to discipline a child for doing well, what is she going to do to an aide who voices her disapproval, especially when that aide makes sense?

As a mother, I’m appalled by the statements of the director. If a child fulfills the requirements of your contest, you don’t penalize him because there are some who don’t. You should use his success as an example to the other kids. Try to motivate them to reach for his standard instead of forcing him to lower his standard. We should always strive for the highest common denominator and above, not the lowest. But that’s not the way of education these days and, apparently, not the way of at least this particular library.

As an author, I want to march into that library and, as my friend Wolfie would say, gobsmack her. You don’t do things to make kids not want to read. Quite the opposite, in fact. You try to find ways to encourage all kids, those who are avid readers and those who aren’t. If you want kids to read a lot of books, then you put your first prize as something they’d want. Believe me, they’ll read a ton of books and answer your questions if you offer them.

Maybe I’m off-base here, but I happen to agree with the boy’s mother. If the library director changes the rules of the contest to reward those who fail to put out the effort of her sons — yes, sons. Her younger son is also an avid reader — then she’s going to take them to another nearby library that doesn’t have that topsy-turvy view of reading. Good on the mom and good on the boys.

What do you think?


66 thoughts on “Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse

  1. If she wants equality, she should offer a second place prize that is almost as good as the first place, so the other kids can compete for a very nice second place prize.

    Of if that doesn’t satisfy her desire to level the playing field (Which in my mind is always the same verb used in “Level the building”) she could enter names in the hat, one for each book read.

    Failing that, she could go on full liberal and just give every kid a prize just for participating. Even if they don’t read a single book. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?

    1. You are using logic again, Mauser. I thought you knew better than that — at least when dealing with folks like that. You’ll make her little pin brain explode. Oh, wait, I’m not sure that wouldn’t be a good thing.

    2. That was my first thought. Aren’t there 2nd and 3rd places? Aren’t there age categories? The prizes for 2nd and 3rd can be nearly as good or even the same as 1st and still have the “prize” of getting to be first. If there are age categories, how does the boy win year after year?

      Also, I find this ridiculous on it’s face because… homeschoolers. Unless they’ve been hounded out of this library there should be several other kids yapping at the front-runner’s heels. (Sure, *my* homeschoolers were all late slow readers, but there are bunches of all sorts and even we used the library all the time.)

    1. Along with every teacher, administrator and anyone else who things we can’t let our kids know what competition is because it might damage their poor little psyches.

  2. I cannot remember the name of the program. My kids’ elementary school started it the last year the younger on was there. You read a book, take a computer quiz on the book and get credit for reading it. Stooopidest thing ever. The kids wouldn’t read books that weren’t on the system, because they wouldn’t count for their required reading.

    I was reminded of that this summer, when a nephew read the first chapter of a book, but put it away “because it’s not on the [fill in name] list. I won’t get credit for reading it.” Mind you, he didn’t read anything else, either, so maybe
    it just wasn’t interesting.

    But there you have it. If they are going to read, by golly, they’re going to read the approved books! The proper books that are in the system!

    This librarian is a bit loony about the one kid always winning. But at least she doesn’t seem to be limiting what the kids read.

    1. Accelerated Reader program. I hates it, I do. Mind you my brief exposure to it was when it was new. It sounds like it now has a lot more books in the system, now. But still, a test to prove you’ve read a book? Does this help instill a love of reading?

      1. Pam, I remember programs like that as well. It didn’t bother me so much because I read anything I could get my hands on. I just looked at the books in the program as necessary evils. Of course, that was before the day of summer reading lists from schools that require that our kids read books designed to make reading a chore. THAT is what I resent.

        1. I’m 48 years old and I still have a aversion to any book that has “this is assigned, this is good for you” cooties. There’s all sorts of influential “common culture” classics that I simply can’t make myself read even now.

          1. It took me years to read Livy, Pliny, Homer, Dumas, Tolkein, et al. because I’d already developed a deep and profound suspicion of “required”, “educational”, and “foundational” reading. Took a long time to discern the difference between classical and “cultural.”

          2. Synova, I wholeheartedly agree. My son would tell you he does even more. By the time he started getting the summer reading lists, those lists were comprised mainly of books about drug abuse, sex abuse, teenaged pregnancy, mental illness, homelessness, etc. Not exactly the sort of thing a kid, especially a boy, wants to read about during their time away from school — if ever. I will never forget discovering the book that started as a nice gothic ghost story climaxed with a graphic attempted rape and murder scene. And this was a book assigned to my son as he was going into the fifth grade. This was one very unhappy mother who made her displeasure known.

    2. Having a kid answer a question, or a couple of them, to prove they read the book (as opposed to gaming the system by claiming credit for books they checked out but never read) isn’t the problem. The problem is not creating a simple system that doesn’t exceed the limited resources of librarians to make it work. [E.g.: Instruction to readers: Pick a book, any book. IF it’s on the list, answer the question when you claim credit for reading it. IF it’s not on the list, make up a question (guidance is provided) that will keep other kids from cheating, but isn’t too hard.] In other words, use the intelligence of the kids, get them involved. Unfortunately, those librarians who take an elitist, over-controlling attitude would never think this way…

  3. I never had a teacher who encouraged me to read, and many of them actively discouraged it. More than once I was told that I checked out too many books from the school library. I had a teacher take a book away from me and throw it in the trashcan because she said I was “showing off”. (It was my mother’s copy of “Pilgrim’s Progress”, BTW)

    What education I have is in spite of the time I spent in public schools, not because of it.

    1. In my school time, I also had teachers who would be extra hard on me, because I always did my assignments beyond the requirements and answered all the questions in classes.
      It’s sad that a desire for knowledge is frowned upon in this society, especially when it’s by those who should teach us to seek knowledge!
      But of course, let’s just encourage people to get all their knowledge from Twitter instead of books. We need more people who think Slovakia is an American state and that Dracula is a rip-off of the Twilight movies…

      1. *shrug* I believed then and I still believe it now, that I am/was smarter than most of my teachers. Difference was I found school boring as hell, was constantly bullied so..I didn’t give a damn. I was reading on full on adult stuff… when I was in 6th grade. Though I still preferred Garfield at the time

        1. Yeah – I was nearly through my highschool “literature” text by the 2nd or 3rd week of the quarter, reading most of it in class – and got away with it only because I could find the place they were discussing in some earlier story and answer a question on it in a reasonable length of time. Learned to sit there with my finger in the “current” story and look up occasionally to see what they were trying to discuss. Not sure I was really that much smarter than all classmates, but they had never been motivated to read much.

    2. I was always a voracious reader — I tackled “Gone with the Wind” in fourth grade after seeing the movie for the first time. My eighth grade year, I attended a parochial school (having been homeschooled the two years previous). We were required to do a book report a month. The first month I brought in my own book with which the teacher was unfamiliar (The Book of Three in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydian). When I attempted to use another of my own books for the second book report, I was told I was not allowed to until I had read everything on the required reading list.

      She didn’t expect me to completely go through the list and then read “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (a book on the 12th grade list) as my final book report.

      1. My parochial elementary school had all five Chronicles of Prydain! But the covers looked so scary, I didn’t read ’em until sixth grade….

        This is unreal. I’ve had to read from an assigned reading list before; but that was in junior high, they were all classics or well-known books you might encounter later, and the list included at least a hundred different books. (Three columns, small typeface.) Also, you only had to do a report on one book from the list, not “nothing but books from the list.”

        We always had adult books in our elementary school libraries. Not only, and very carefully picked for wholesomeness, but we always had them. I love children’s books, but they’re not supposed to be a jail. And not every book you read has to include an assignment.

        1. This 8th grade list was a page and a half, double columned, double space, so call it ~100 books. There were a couple of well-known books (The Hobbit being one, I remember), but many had been picked simply because they were Christian-friendly children’s lit, not because they were well-written or really even interesting. (“Jacob Have I Loved” and “Onion John” being about the only two titles I remember at all, 16 years later.)

          And to be fair, I didn’t read *every* single book on the list. I did read every one the school library had (and they had a shelf labeled “8th grade Reading List” to make that easier). When the teacher could look at the back of every book on the shelf and see when I had checked it out, she gave in. (Also to be fair, I wasn’t a member of this school’s sponsoring congregation, I’d missed some important socialization for the previous two years due to homeschooling*, and I was 12 — not a great time to have to deal with authority figures I didn’t respect.)

          * Not every homeschooler has a problem with socialization, but the way my parents did mine created some problems on that front.

      1. *Shudder* That book nearly put me off all books from that era.

        Luckily, I had a lazy English teacher in high school. His idea of teaching Shakespeare was to put on Branaugh’s Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. Sir Kenneth prompted my love of Shakespeare, something that probably wouldn’t have happened if we’d tried to act it out with surly high school students.

    3. I was fortunate. My teachers all encouraged reading. Even if they hadn’t, my parents were both voracious readers, so it was something I’d known for as long as I could remember. I’d probably have told any teacher who tried to tell me not to read what she could do with her suggestion.

  4. We are home-schooling our 3-year-old with K-level math and reading. He already gives us impromptu concerts with his keyboard and guitar. I have no concerns whatsoever about public schools and librarians messing him up… because they are not going to get anywhere near him.

    1. When I read stories like this, I understand more and more why folks home school. The problem in this instance is this is not a school librarian. How many home schoolers is she going to mess with before the library board decides to do something about the problem?

    2. The best thing about homeschool is that kids who can start at 3 years, get to start at 3 years. Kids like mine who resisted reading until they’re between 9 and 11 can still be reading college level when they’re 13. (Because vocab, comprehension and language skills don’t wait for reading skills.) In a classroom, of course, a late reader internalizes that they’re dumb.

      A friend of mine had an early reader and then had a late reader and she said… “I apologize for all the times I thought my oldest read at 3 because of my fabulous teaching.” 😉

  5. My 6th grade English teacher was not thrilled when I brought a mystery novel to class, and suggested that I take a book from the shelves in the classroom. (The book had a good amount of “adult language” so she did have a point, perhaps.) I selected Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and she blinked but didn’t stop me. After that I pretty much read whatever my little heart desired without fuss.

    I’d probably get booted out of summer reading programs today.

    1. For some reason, I seem to remember being assigned “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” in 6th grade. I still have my copy of the book.

  6. Throughout middle school and high school I never went to class without 6-10 paperbacks. It was the only way I could make it through the day (and keep from sarcastically disrupting the class out of lowest-common-denominator boredom.) The teachers recognized a good bargain when they saw one.

    There was that one time in 7th grade when the room fell unusually quiet and I looked up from my current SciFi in math class (I’d finished the textbook long ago) to notice the current headmistress, and the replacement she was showing around both standing behind me. When they caught my attention, she asked, “Good book?”

    I said, “Yes.” She continued on her way without comment.

    1. You should like me. I always had a book — or more — with me and they came out in almost every class because I’d finish before everyone else. You were lucky that your teachers understood. I had a few who didn’t.

  7. The problem, IMHO, starts way before public school. Day care centers routinely use reading as punishment. They don’t do “time out – you sit in the corner and do *nothing*”. They do, “OK, you. Over there in the reading area and read until I say you can come out.” It’s not a local phenomenon. And if a parent complains hard enough, it get changed for *their* kid, but nobody else’s.

  8. It wouldn’t surprise me if the librarian was drinking from the ‘Diversity Gud’ well and it shut down her frontal lobes because if only we let Shitvarious win a few times then he’ll magically develop a love of reading because…diversity!

  9. I’m another bookworm who’d have annoyed this bansturbating librarian.

    I think it was at age 9 (possibly 10) my parents and I both misread the summer reading list which had 2-3 books on it for each year (i.e. a dozen or so total) as all being books I was supposed to read. As it happened the idea was that you picked ONE book of the two/three for your year and then write a brief essay on it. Most of them I could get from the library, a couple – the King Arthur tales by Roland Greene being one – we bought because my parents thought I want to reread (and they were quite right), and one my father said I should skip because he thought it was a bit mature for me. That book was Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and since it was intended for 12yos – and if you read the instructions properly it had a note saying that this was in fact entirely optional – it wasn’t a surprise. OTOH the head master was very surprised when I turned in 12 essays instead of one like everyone else.

    My parents used to get annoyed with me on our holidays in France because a) I took all the library books I could plus others for a total of about a book a day and b) I kept on reading them in the back of the car instead of looking at the scenery/ historic buildings etc.

  10. I want to sing the praises of a school librarian — Mrs. Clem — who embodied what any adult desiring children to be readers should be. In 1964, when I was in the 4th grade, I had read every book housed in the elementary school library in which I had any interest (and many others as well). One afternoon — during our library time — I slipped through the door into the high school library. I quickly found a copy of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer. As I leafed through the book admiring the Wyeth prints, my teacher came in and began to scold me for being where I did not belong. Mrs. Clem, hearing the ruckus, came over from her desk. Rather than siding with the teacher, she asked if I wanted to read the book. I said yes. She checked it out to me. It took me about six weeks to get through it. When I finished reading it, Mrs. Clem told my teacher that I would be granted access to the high school library thereafter. No one has ever opened a wider world to me than she did.

  11. It’s stories like this that make me profoundly grateful for the librarians I encountered growing up. None of them *ever* hindered my love of reading, possibly because it would be like trying to stop a bulldozer. Some even gave me special privileges–Mrs. Friedman (her first name was “Mrs.”, I am quite sure) let me take home and read a new book that didn’t even have the little stampy slip in the back yet. It was a history of the Black Death, and she knew I was interested in it and could be trusted to bring it back unscathed. It was a signal honor and one even now I strive to be worthy of 😉

    1. That’s why I noted how good our local library is. I’ve never seen any of the librarians there do anything except encourage reading on all levels.

      1. Librarians are supposed to be kids’ allies! It’s the natural way of things!

        Unfortunately, the librarians’ profession has been largely captured by the left, at least among younger librarians, and hence is getting increasingly irrelevant and evil.

  12. I said when I shared the article on FB that the director should be fired and run out of town on a rail. I’ve changed my mind. Hung in a ‘crow cage’ and have the surrounding passers by given free rotten fruits to throw at the ignorant, elitist ass. Or if the passerby want the option…long poles to poke the ignorant shithead with. My first thought was having her drawn and quartered…. but I realized that might be going a BIT far.

    1. Sean, I didn’t see this on your FB feed. I picked it up from someone else. But I could hear your voice in my head as I read it . BTW, I sort of like your solution to the problem — but then I’m evil that way. 😉

  13. Aside from doing her best to discourage competition and reading, what really galls me is that the lady is changing the rules at the last minute. It’s typical for those of her mindset, but it’s a horrible way to treat kids. What happens if next year she draws the super-reader’s name out of the hat for the prize? Will she find another way to disqualify him, or anyone that she doesn’t like?

    1. And how long will she be allowed to do that until either her staff revolts or enough parents complain that the library board/city/whoever her employer is finally takes a stand?

    2. When I was young my sense of justice would have been so profoundly offended. There are a couple of times when there were “drawings” for big toy prizes for kids in the my community and they’d pull the name out of the one sick kid. ARGH! (Actually, my little sister won something like that and I wonder if she won it the same way?) I was in high school so I wasn’t in the drawing of the one I knew what they did, but they pulled the name out and gave it to the poor girl dying of leukemia. I’m all for giving the poor dying girl with leukemia a big prize, but make it *another* prize if they want to do that. All the other hopeful children should have had the chance to win that they were promised instead of finding out at the end that they never had a chance at all because it wasn’t, in the end, a raffle.

      1. Heh … I had much the same thing at a recent comicon. We were told that a tv crew would be filming for a documentary about cosplayers and so we put together some really great costumes (given our small budget, but it’s also a small convention).
        We went first in the contest, so we got to watch the plants that the show had brought to film. The show was going to be about these girls and everything had been rigged to make them win.
        When we did instead, they seemed amazed that the fact that we won when the deck was stacked against us didn’t alleviate our anger at the deck having been stacked in the first place.

        1. Amy, I have one comment for those folks — GAH. And good on you for doing your think and doing it well enough to beat the stacked deck (especially if it was the plants from the show I figure it’s for)

          1. Well, and there comes a point where the deck is so obviously stacked that the judges do a “jury nullification” and pretend the favorites didn’t exist. 😀

      2. Gotta agree with you, Synova. If it is a contest, it shouldn’t be rigged. If you want to give someone a prize and not do it fairly, then make it a “special prize” or recognition. Oh, I can hear the nay-sayers now: “But we didn’t want to make so-and-so think she won just because she was sick.” I understand that, which is why you have special recognition prizes and more than one person getting them.

        1. The thing is… how can the little sick girl NOT know that she won because she was sick and not because she was lucky?

          Just like, if they kick this boy who wins all the time out, how can the kid who does win not know that he or she didn’t really win at all?

  14. If this had happened in my town, when my mother was still a librarian, there would have been “sparks,” as she would say.

    You don’t do things like this if your goal is to, y’know, promote reading. I’m all for fairness and equality- the way the founders put it. Give them *all* a fair chance.

    *grumble* I’d best leave it at that. This perversion of “fairness” offends me.

    1. Dan, that’s why I am grateful for the library system we have where I live. For as long as I can remember, with only one exception that was fairly brief, our librarians and library directors have been all for pushing reading and not punishing those who do read. As for the perversion of “fairness” , it ranks right up there with the “more equal of equals” we got to see in Soviet Russia and other places.

  15. There are a lot of problems with the librarian, but there is also a problem with the contest. If the idea of the contest is to encourage as many children as possible to read as many books as possible, the contest should be against a set goal rather than against everyone else involved in the contest. The goal should be achievable by anyone who takes the challenge seriously. I’d support greater goals for people like the boy in the original story, too. Then you award prizes for reaching the goal rather than “defeating” others in the contest. Give a small prize to kids who reach the lowest goal and greater prizes for kids who reach greater goals (rather than simply an accumulation of all the smaller prizes).

    This is not one of those “reward everyone simply because they participated” approaches. (Well, it’s not unless the person in charge sets the initial goal so low that anyone who checks out a book wins a prize.) This kind of contest — really more of a challenge — rewards all kids who seriously attempt the challenge but does not reward them equally for unequal effort.

    1. Henry, I don’t think the contest is geared to encourage children to read. If it were, the kids wouldn’t have to draw questions out of a jar and then answer them as pertains to the book they read. Also, from what I read about the contest, as long as you read at least 10 books, you did get something. So everyone got rewarded. But those who put out extra effort received the greater reward — and I have absolutely no problem with that.

      Just because one child has won the contest several years running, it doesn’t necessarily mean others couldn’t do it as well. I’d bet my next royalty check that a number of those kids who “dropped out” did so, not because they didn’t think they could read as many books as the other kid but because they either didn’t want to answer the questions or were intimidated by them. Or, if they’re like me, they didn’t like being treated like cheats. Why should they have to prove they read a book by answering a question? And what happens if they answer the question correctly but the librarian hadn’t read the book and said he was wrong? Sorry, but I sincerely doubt someone worked up answers for every book in the library.

      1. That’s what I get for responding without reading the article on the contest. Yeah, I’m with you on the questions. When I read a book, I’m reading for enjoyment and escape, not for picking up nit picky details to answer a question.

  16. One reason why we dearly love our librarians: ‘Holly, you’re okay with your boys checking out adult books?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Okay.’ And yes, homeschoolers.
    We inevitably fail the summer reading program, though, it being based on doing all sorts of different ‘reading based’ activities, like read while sitting in a tree, etc. We loose the paperwork before the kids have finished it. If it were just read x number of books, or keep a record of books read, we could do that.

  17. Several weeks, perhaps even months, ago, I read something from Sarah Hoyt’s blog: she didn’t want her children to think reading was a chore, so when the local library offered prizes for reading, and her sons wanted to participate, she simply gave her sons the prizes that they wanted.

    The sentiment resonated with me–possibly, in part, because I remembered a couple years before, when we were in a library program meant to read to our infant daughter 20 minutes a day, which we pretty much did anyway…until we had to do it for a prize. I actually began to resent reading to my daughter!

    So my reaction to this story is a bit odd: it’s a combination of “meh, it’s just a stupid program that hurts reading anyway” combined with “that’s stupid! There are so many ways to fix the program, so that the boy could participate, and so that the other kids don’t feel like they are being left in the dust!”

    As it currently stands, we occasionally enroll in such programs anyway, but we usually lose sight of the goals. (This year, the program allowed us to set goals, which I set up as “do X so we could read”…after a while, we stopped collecting rewards, mostly because interest was lost. It doesn’t matter too much, though, because our greatest problem seems to be that our children want to wait for bed before reading…)

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