All posts tagged: Denver Post May 7

The Teacher is Talking: Operant Conditioning and Teaching Reading

By Leslie Lindsay My husband and I recently re-learned (ha!) the power of operant conditioning.  You see, my 1st grader isn’t that excited to read.  She struggles a bit, but not for want of trying.  We work with her daily, but we were going about it all wrong.  She needs a “carrot.”  For this kiddo, the carrot was NOT learning to read a book all by herself.  (Why bother with that, when mom and dad read to me every night, anyway?)  Okay, fair enough… The “carrot,” if you will is candy.  What kid doesn’t respond the sugar-laden treat?!  So, we timed her: “if you can read through all of these flashcards in under a minute, you can pick out a whole theater-sized box of candy from the store.”   YES!!   That was the incentive that got my little rabbit to focus on reading.  I know, it’s a bit “low” in terms of positive, edcationally-focused parenting, but well…you do what you gotta do! Thank you, B.F. Skinner.  Here’s what the teacher says about developing  good readers: 1.  Ask questions …