By Dennis Abrams
What do you get when you unite America’s number-one selling author with Patch, AOL’s leading platform for local news? A partnership designed to encourages kids’ passion for reading while supporting parent’s efforts to interest their kids in books.
“Patch and James Patterson’s/ReadKiddoRead’s Summer Reading List,” the first program in the partnership, launched last week on all 850+ Patch sites. Over half a million users reached ReadKiddoRead via Patch in its first two days. The site features a video message from Patterson that introduces Patch readers to the program, along with four age-specific reading lists chosen personally by Patterson as great summer reads. Kids (and their parents) are encouraged to share their own recommendations, their responses to the books and their progress with the list on their hometown Patch site.
ReadKiddoRead.com is a site started by Patterson that is designed to help parents, teachers and librarians work together to recommend books carefully chosen for their ability to inspire kids to want to read. What was his inspiration? “A few years ago, when my son, Jack, was eight, Sue and I realized he didn’t exactly love books. So we took it on ourselves to fix the problem.”
“Starting that summer we went out and found books that we were pretty sure he not only could read, but would love to read…He finished more than four books that summer. And the next summer, he read even more, and by the third summer, he couldn’t wait to get started on his summer reading list. I decided to help parents identify the best books for their children, so that those parents could easily lead the kids to discover the joys that come with reading. That’s how ReadKiddoRead.com came to be.”
Complete with age designations, book descriptions, author and celebrity interviews and more, ReadKiddoRead has won the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading prize and the Association for Library Services to Children’s Great Websites for Kids award.
According to Patterson, “We hope moms and dads will be inspired to take an even more active role in getting their kids into books and reading. That’s what ReadKiddoRead is all about. I’m proud to be working with Patch to get more children reading good books. I’m really excited to be getting a conversation going this summer with such a lively and active network of families across the country.”
Patch, launched in 2009, now serves nearly 12 million users in over 850 communities in 23 states plus Washington D.C. Its hyperlocal platform has become a hub for residents who want to participate in discussions, share their perspectives via Patch’s blogging platform, and get involved in their communities.
For Warren Webster, co-founder of Patch, pairing up with Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead was a natural fit. “Given our commitment to supporting our communities — and by extension, the kids and families in those communities, I can’t think of a better partnership in getting kids reading than with James Patterson. We admire all the work he’s done in getting more books into schools, donating book, and just pushing for kids to pick up a book and read more.”
And while summer reading is on the front burner now, given the partnership’s immediate success, Webster is already looking into the future. “We can imagine when we get back into the school year that there are many exciting things we can do together — it’s going to be great.”