Willie Braudaway

Willie Braudaway

Dads, have you ever heard your child say he hates to read? I even heard recently that my own granddaughter “hates to read.” What? Honestly, I don’t think that’s true. Your child and my granddaughter probably hate what and how they have to read in school.

Sorry, teachers, but it happens.

This reminded me of the words of author (and father) James Patterson that I had the pleasure to hear at a library conference five years ago. Take it away, Mr. Patterson:

“Sorry, moms and dads, but it’s your job – not the schools’ – to find books to get your kids reading and to make sure they read them.

“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. You know, 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.

“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.

“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 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.”

Dads, do you want to be a hero for your kids today? Check out James Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead.com website to get ideas about the kinds of books your kids will gobble up.

Then head off to the Val Verde County Library and check some out.

You can make a difference in your child’s next school year – starting now – this summer!

Willie Braudaway


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