Rick Riordan on Getting ADHD Kids to Read

getting adhd kids to read
Any child can learn to love books.

Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, has created a world in which the hero is a young boy who has ADHD and dyslexia. In the stories, those two characteristics are indicators of Olympian blood, meaning kids with ADHD and dyslexia stand a good chance of having been descended from the gods.  But in the real world, kids with such learning differences can find it difficult to even read such a book, let alone be made to feel heroic because of it.

To give the main character of an action adventure book series ADHD and dyslexia might seem a little unusual, but the author had a good reason for doing so.  His own son, 16-year-old Haley, also has ADHD and dyslexia and Riordan says the novels began as a desperate attempt to keep his child interested in reading.

Riordan says that as a 7-year-old, Haley hated reading so much that he would hide under a table to avoid it.  But today, Haley is not only an avid reader, but he’s also the proud author of his very own six-hundred-page manuscript.  How did Riordan manage that? 

In an article at the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy, Riordan writes about his belief that all kids can become lifelong readers and shares his tips on getting ADHD children to read.

He advocates modeling reading at home, matching kids with the right books and creating the right reading environment.  But most of all, he says it is important for parents of ADHD kids to keep the long view and know that their child’s differences do not preclude a successful future.  In fact, Riordan believes just the opposite is true.  He says if parents can get their ADHD kids reading and through school, he believes they have an awful lot to offer the world as adults.

Image: arrathoonla/Flickr

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