James Patterson's "10 tips to get your kids reading

Click for the 10 steps. They're easy and fun.

Without reading, kids lose an average of one to three months of achievement over the summer. By the end of 6th grade, children who do not read over the summer/img/blog are as much as two years behind other kids who do.*
Moms and Dads… getting our kids into reading this summer is our job.

Experts know that reading 6 books over the summer is all kids need, to maintain the reading level they gained in school.* They also know that the more kids read in the summer, the more they gain.

Kids read more when they are given books they like—especially if they can choose their own books.

Check out our Second Annual Summer Reading List on and get started.

Stop the "summer slide" with these ten tips from James Patterson:

Start today!

Summer's rolling…and your kid's reading should be, too. Check out our reading list, and get that first "can't-put-down" book into their hands today.

Find books your kids love.

Check out our summer reading list here for starters. Talk with your child about their interests. Kids read more if they read what they like. E-reader, paperbacks, hard covers, comic books are all fine. Reading is the goal!

Get a Library Card in your child's name.

Visit your library…the resources they have for the summer are usually terrific. And the Children's Librarian will usually bend over backwards to help your child find fun stuff to read.

Break down the summer reading goal in smaller daily or weekly increments.

Want to read 6 books? Divide the number of pages by the weeks or days available for summer reading, and set a reasonable goal. Or just allot 30 minutes a day.

Set aside a daily "no-electronics" time for summer reading.

Summer days are long—there's always time for reading, if we make it a priority.

"Buddy Read" together.

Model reading with your child. Read the same books together, and talk about them.

Create a Summer Reading Club with friends.

It's always more fun if you can share the experience.

Reward progress.

Set goals with your child, and track their achievements. Give them little "awards" for progress. Have a bigger end-of-summer reward.

Travel with your books wherever you go.

Take them to the beach, in the car, on vacations, and to the pool. Make the "in between" moments count. Put books everywhere your kids might be bored and want to turn on the TV, such as the breakfast table, the bedside table—wherever.

Remember: it's up to you to make it fun.

Don't turn it into a "summer chore" that must be done before you can have fun. Reading is fun! If it isn't, keep at it till they find books they can't put down. Then reward yourself, Mom and Dad, because you have just given your child the best present you could ever have imagined: the gift of reading—for life.

*McGill-Franzen, A., & Allington R. (2003 May/June) "Bridging the Summer Reading Gap" Instructor 112 no.8