If you have a reluctant reader, getting a children's book "reading timer" bookmark, might be the answer to your prayers!
What Is a Children's Book "Reading Timer" Bookmark
The official children's book reading timer bookmark is marketed by a company called "Mark My Time." The product comes in three colors and it is slim and flat so that it fits easily between the pages of a book.
The digital clock at the top has two ways for readers and parents to keep track of time spent in a good book. You can set the countdown clock with a predetermined number of minutes so that an alarm sounds off when it is time to be finished reading. The other way you can use the timer is to set it so that it stores time cumulatively until the reader deletes it. In this way, you can keep track of how many minutes your child has read over the course of a few days, a week or even a month.
Using a Timer for Silent Reading
When paired with a reward or incentive, the Mark My Time digital reading timer can really be a lifesaver when it comes to getting especially reluctant students reading. It can also help you keep track of minutes spent reading if that is an assignment that your child has to complete for school.
One way to use the bookmark is by keeping track of minutes over a longer period of time. This is a good way to go with an older student who reads at grade level or above but just needs to be encouraged to spend time reading. Keeping track cumulatively also is more flexible for a busy tween!
Start by setting a realistic goal with your child. Ask him how many minutes he feels like he can spend reading each day. Don't panic if he says he can't do any more than five or ten. Encourage those few minutes reading, and then increase the time spent reading next week.
After setting the goal, decide on a reward. It might be ice cream, a trip to the movies, etc. Some parents even put money in a jar towards a larger purchase. Whatever it is, it's important that it be your child's idea. (Of course, you can help shape that idea. . .)
Finally, make sure you keep your promises. Offering an incentive or reward is useless if your child knows that you're not going to follow through.
This is a great approach for students who have silent reading as a homework assignment or for younger students. A good rule of thumb is to start with five to ten minutes per day in 1st grade and increase by five minutes each semester. Of course, your child will give you cues and that is simply a rule of thumb. For every time your child completes his goal, consider offering a reward with stickers on an incentive chart, money in a jar towards a bigger purchase or something else.
Mark My Time and Other Digital Timers
You might be wondering what's so special about the "Mark My Time" timer vs other digital reading timers. Well, it's marketed specifically for kids and due to its design, it's always where it needs to be when you want to use it for timing reading!
However, if your child feels like the best place to read is in bed, you might want to try an LED Reading Light with the digital timer attached. It works exactly like the bookmark, with the bonus of an extra light.