James Patterson, best-selling author, is passionate about helping kids discover the joy of reading. He's written an op-ed piece for CNN.com, and I want to share some of it here.
"Here's a simple but powerful truth that many parents and schools don't act on: The more kids read, the better readers they become.Head over to CNN.com to read more of Patterson's advice - it's worth the trip. He's absolutely right - the biggest way parents can help is connect their child with books just right for your kids' interests.
The best way to get kids reading more is to give them books that they'll gobble up -- and that will make them ask for another. Yes, it's that simple. 1 + 1 = 2. Kids say the No. 1 reason they don't read more is that they can't find books they like. Freedom of choice is a key to getting them motivated and excited. Vampire sagas, comics, manga, books of sports statistics -- terrific! -- as long as kids are reading. Should they read on e-tablets? Sure, why not? How about rereading a book? Definitely. And don't tell them a book is too hard or too easy. "Great Expectations"? Absolutely. "Finnegans Wake"? Well, maybe not. And remember, books can be borrowed free at libraries." James Patterson, How to Get Your Kid to be a Fanatic Reader
No Easy Way! The Story of Ted Williams and the last .400 Season by Fred Bowen.
James Patterson has also created a fantastic website for for parents, librarians, and teachers, and other children's book-loving souls: http://www.readkiddoread.com. The site is "dedicated to making kids readers for life;" Patterson and his team do this by bringing together a great selection of page-turners for a range of ages, from young toddlers all the way through advanced tweens and teens. Patterson's mission is to get kids hooked on books they can't put down, so they can develop an interest in reading that will lead them to other books that will launch them as lifetime readers.
I have been particularly impressed with the layout, site design and content of ReadKiddoRead. It's set up for great browsing, first by age level (with implicit reading levels), and then by either interest and genre. That intuitively fits the way parents and kids want to find books: I have a eight year old third grader, who loves fantasy. You'll find a selection of 30 books in this category, a mix of classics and new releases. Each book has a review that describes what's great about this book - the reviews are short enough to read quickly, but well developed enough to give you a real sense of what the book's about. And then there's a list of "If you love this book, then try" suggestions.