When I was in Elementary, I struggled with school. I tried to be a good student, but it was a challenge. Math seemed like a foreign language to me, and every time I started reading a book, I couldn't finish it. I didn't have any confidence in my school work, and I deemed myself the "problem" child of the class.

It wasn't until Jr. High that everything changed for me. I decided to give the Harry Potter books a try because I'd liked the movie. It was still hard for me to read, but the more I got into it, the more I realized how much I loved reading. When I finished, I realized that I wanted to read the rest of the series. As I continued to pour through the large, fantasy novels, I noticed that school became easier and soon my grades began to improve. Within one year I was on the honor roll and began joining honor classes, something that seemed impossible one year earlier. I finished the Harry Potter series and moved onto The Series of Unfortunate Events, and other middle grade novels like Ella Enchanted, and Holes. I began spending less time on television, computers, and video games, and more time going what I loved, reading.

I am so happy that I decided to read The Harry Potter books, they got me into reading. They helped me unleash my potential in school and made me realize that I wanted to become an author.

I've seen firsthand just how important it is for children to read. It improved my grades, gave me confidence, and eventually led me to a career. A big part of getting a child to read is just finding the right book. Here are some suggestions:

1. Find books about genres they're interested in

For me it was fantasy novels, for other children its books about science, sports, or history.

2. Ask around

Some of my favorite novels have been suggestions from friends, teachers, and librarians. You don't see a lot of advertisement for books. Often times it's through word of mouth that you discover great books.

3. Newbery Honor Award Books

I've loved every single Newbery book I've read. I think of the Newbery Award system as a standard for children's books, if a book has received this award I know it will be well written, clean, and something that kids will be excited to read. Holes, Ella Enchanted, and A Year Down Yonder are just a few of my favorite Newbery Honor books.

Getting kids to read is so important, and sometimes all it takes is one book to make a huge positive influence in their lives.

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