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ADHD and Summer Reading

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: My nine-year-old has ADHD and ODD. He's off Adderall and using alternatives for the summer. He's doing great!

The problem is, how do I get my son to read during the summer months? I've tried almost everything except punishment. When I try to get him to read, it can easily turn into a fight. I don't want him to hate reading.

He's currently reading at a 4.4 grade level, due to having him tutored this past school year. He's come a long way, but I hate to see him lose his reading ability. Kids in his third-grade class are reading Harry Potter, but he found it too difficult.

What should I do?

A: So many parents (particularly mothers) have difficulty motivating their sons to read on their own. In response to this need, well-known children's book author, Jon Szieska, has created a website called Here are only a few of Jon's tips for getting reluctant boys to read:

If you can, find a man to be a role model. Talk about reading. Let boys see you reading. Acting as a positive, literate role model is the single most important thing you can do to help boys read.

Let boys know that nonfiction reading is reading. Magazines, newspapers, websites, biographies, science books, comic books, and graphic novels are all reading material.

Form a father-son or parent-son book club. Meet at an indoor soccer facility or gym to talk about books, and then run around, too. Be a model for how to read a book and talk about it.

You'll also find favorite "guy books" posted on and a place for boys and adults to talk about books they like. If your son is driven to read books that are way above his level (and Harry Potter is way above a third-grade reading level) use these books as "read-alouds" for you to read to him. He'll still get the content and have a good model for hearing fluent reading. No one is too old to be read to and it's never too late to begin. Good luck!

More on: Expert Advice

For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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