The effects of participation in the "Book it!" reading program and parental pay for reading on reported reading habits of college students was investigated. College students were surveyed about the amount they read per week, their intrinsic interest in reading, if they participated in the Book It! program and if their parents paid them money to read during childhood. If they participated in Book It! and/or were paid to read, they were also asked what effects these factors had on their learning to read, their enjoyment of reading, and on the amount they read. Neither being reinforced with money or pizzas increased or decreased the amount college students read nor influenced their intrinsic motivation for reading. Answers to direct questions about Book It! and parental pay for reading suggest that when a child is extrinsically reinforced for reading the child will increase the amount read, enjoyment of reading may increase, and if they do not yet know how to read fluently, the programs may help the child to learn to read. These results provide no support for the myth that extrinsic rewards for reading undermine intrinsic interest in reading. Rather, extrinsic rewards for reading set the conditions where intrinsic motivation for reading may develop. Any concerns that reinforcement programs for reading will decrease later reading behaviors are unfounded.
Flora, Stephen R. and Flora, David B.
"Effects of Extrinsic Reinforcement for Reading during Childhood on Reported Reading Habits of College Students,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 49
, Article 1.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol49/iss1/1