A friend of mine paid his kids $1 for every book they read. As his kids grew older, he gradually upgraded the definition of “a book,” moving them from picture books to Scholastic Books to, well, The Count of Monte Cristo.

The challenge before us is daunting. We’re working with students who have technological wonders at their fingertips 24/7. Immediate gratification. How do books and book-reading stand a chance?

I suspect that my mentor felt the same way when he invoked the $1/book reward. And like him, it’s up to us to creatively get kids into books. Here are a couple of things we’ve tried:

• Offering students a discount on trips if they read a selected book
• Using the natural enthusiasm of other students as positive peer pressure
• Outright cash incentives (I’ll admit it)
• Using a book as a course of study in small group or on a trip
• Audiobooks

Three of the most significant influences on a student’s life are parents, friends, and books. Make an effort to keep good books in that equation.