By Rick Riordan
My 16-year-old son Haley recently came into my office and announced that he’d finished a 600-page manuscript. I suppose that would be unusual coming from any 16-year-old, but given my son’s background, it’s especially stunning.
Haley is ADHD and dyslexic. At 7, he hated school. He would hide under the dining-room table to avoid reading or doing his homework. My novels about Percy Jackson began as bedtime stories for him — a father’s desperate attempt to keep his son interested in reading. That’s also why I made Percy Jackson ADHD and dyslexic, and made those two conditions indicators of Olympian blood.
Over the past nine years, so much has changed. Percy Jackson became a five-book series. Haley took his own hero’s journey from reluctant reader to an avid devourer of books. Now, as I launch a new series, The Heroes of Olympus, that returns to Percy Jackson’s world, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on what I’ve learned about getting ADHD/dyslexic kids to read. I can’t promise that every child with learning differences will become a novelist, but I do think all children can become lifelong readers. Below are four essential things I’ve learned as a dad and a classroom teacher:
Take it from this dad. It seems like just yesterday my son was hiding under the table to avoid reading. Now he’s writing books longer than mine!
For more on The Heroes of Olympus, go here.
This essay first appeared at WSJ.com/Speakeasy. Reprinted with permission.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.