Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reading Time Discussion: Counting Children's Books

Back in November I posted about how I manage to read so much and I promised to have more posts on the subject.  So I have decided to post around once a month if possible under the title of Reading Time Discussion. I want to start conversations with you about the different ways we read, and what we read. I hope you will chime in and maybe bring your fellow readers into the discussion as well.
Previous Post - How do I read so much?
Since it is January there has been a lot of talk about our reading numbers (you can see mine HERE), how much did we read in 2016, what did we read in 2016 and how we plan to improve in 2017.  When I tell other people the number of books I read in a year (generally over 375 books) and then I tell them that I have read fantasy, romance, graphic novels and children's books.  I often get the response 'well kids books don't count'.  While I understand that a lot of people don't think they count because they are short books with mostly images and not a lot of substance or text to them, I want to talk a bit today about why I count them and why I think you should too.
Reading is Reading
The first obvious response for me is that reading is reading. If you are reading words on a page or listening to someone read to you (be it audio books or a author reading event), you are reading. Anything you read should count (no, I am not going to get into the debate of how it shouldn't be a competition, and why should we keep track anyway, that is a whole other discussion for another day).  Obviously, it is difficult or near impossible to count all your reading (heck if you want to get super specific you could even count reading this post as reading). Anyway, my point is that if you are reading, you are reading. If you want to get technical where it only counts if you read a work of literature bound for the purpose of reading, guess what, Children's books fall into that category too.
Read it Once, Read it Twice, Read it a Hundred Times
When I add a Children's book to my Goodreads page, or to my own book tracking, I only add it once.  Do you know how many times I read that same book with a small child in the house?!  I read 3 books with my son each night at bedtime, I often read a book each morning as well, and maybe one or two after preschool and work. On weekends and holidays I can read upwards of 6 to 10 books a day! Sometimes, I am reading the same book back to back to back because he enjoys it so much.  I do not count each time I read that book or my page counts would be astronomical!
Reading With and Not To
This is a concept that is difficult for people who have never read with children to understand, but when you are reading Children's books with children it should be an active thing. Children are still learning and growing and discovering, often it is through the books we read together. So when reading you are not simply reading the words on the page as fast as you can, but you are often answering questions about the pictures, playing a "what will happen next" game, pointing out familiar figures, animals, letters, etc. You are explaining why things are happening and where things are in relation to others. You are often making up voices for the characters, you have to have the proper intonation for what is happening so they can grasp the message so many of the books contain. As the kids grow older you start sounding out words so they can follow along and then they start sounding out words too (which while it seems like magic, is very time consuming). Each book (and sometimes each page) sparks conversations as your new developing reader is discovering not only the world but also the magic of books.
So there you have it, this is why I count Children's books in my reading totals and challenges. You don't have to have a child to count children's books that you read either (and honestly if you aren't reading Children's books you are missing out on some truly beautiful and magical books), as I said before reading is reading.  I hope that this will convince you to start counting those Children's books too. 
I would love to hear your opinion on the subject. Start a conversation!


  1. I always knew you counted children's books and I think you should. I agree! They're books even if they're short and that totally counts. I'm still impressed with your reading numbers even if you didn't count children's books. You read way more than me.

    1. Thanks Jenny, reading anything is definitely reading. I think the reason I am able to read so much is because I don't have anything else really going on, you have renovations filling your time!