How to Get Kids Reading


Parents, it’s up to you, not schools, to find books to get your kids reading. Here’s how James Patterson and his wife got their son to read:

This can often be as easy as teaching children to ride a two-wheeler or to throw a baseball. Case in point: When our son, Jack, was 8, he wasn’t a gung-ho reader. Now, I’m sure my wife, Sue, and I have made a half-million mistakes raising Jack, but during that eighth summer of our stewardship, we did something right: We told him he didn’t have to mow the lawn (hooray!), but he was going to read every day (boo).

We then told Jack we were going to help him find books we promised he would like: the Mom-and-Dad “Reading Can Be a Joy” Guarantee. We picked out “The Lightning Thief,” a book in the “Warriors” series, “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Al Capone Does My Shirts,” a novel from my own “Maximum Ride” series, and a few others. By the end of the summer, Jack had read half a dozen books that he loved, and his reading skills had improved dramatically.

Where do you find books your kids will gobble up?

ReadKiddoRead.com, GuysRead.com, and Oprah.com’s Kids Reading List are excellent resources, and they’re simpler to use than an iPhone. The American Library Association and the Young Adult Library Services Association have recommendations for terrific books, easily found by searching “ALA reading lists.” DropEverythingandRead.com has a “Favorite D.E.A.R. Books” tab on its home page.

Also check out our Hot Topic: Reading is Fun Just for Kids and Reading is Fun Just for Teens. Both are updated monthly with new reading suggestions.

Don’t forget our eMedia Catalog has eBooks for kids and teens.  Reading on an iPad or eReader may be just the spark your child needs to get reading.

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