Multi-book reading? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 09-04-2011, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't know if my 7 yr old son is gifted or not.  But he reads constantly - probably about 5 hours a day total.  I'm wondering if it is normal for him to read so many books at once.  He will have 3 novels going and then a few math books, an origami book and an astronomy book for example.  He doesn't always finish a book.  I don't want to say anything, because I want reading to be fun for him, but sometimes I think that it would be better for him to focus on a single book until it is done, rather than skipping around as he does. 


Just recently he realized that if he took a break while doing a project that he would never finish it.  So when we made a math game, he had us sit there until the whole thing was done, so that we wouldn't lose steam.  I think it's great that he has figured this out about himself on his own, but I'm wondering if I should encourage him in the same direction in his reading.

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#2 of 14 Old 09-04-2011, 07:40 PM
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I'd let him be about the reading. My eldest is like that. I too worried it might be an "issue" when she was little but a chat with the school librarian relaxed me (she was an avid reader and would do the same thing.) Yes, there were some books DD never finished. I remember one time she had 3 stories about pigs going at one time but she never had trouble keeping them straight. The habit did lessen as she aged. At 14, she rarely has more than one fiction going at a time unless it's one personal and one school assigned book. She usually has a nonfiction going here and there as well. She almost always finishes her books now too unless she's actively disliking it.


It's not a problem and really, at 7, there is no reason he "has" to finish or concentrate on one book. 


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#3 of 14 Old 09-04-2011, 08:48 PM
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I started that habit when I was a child myself - three, four books at a time, in various stages of progress. Sometimes you're just in a mood to read about a particular topic or story. And I think kids are just like adults when it comes to finishing books - sometimes you just lose interest if the book loses steam or the plot becomes boring... 


More to your son though - since he seems to recognize his own need for focusing in other areas, I think the book hopping is fine and not an indication of a larger attention-span or motivation issue. :-) 

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#4 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 03:26 AM
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I remember a thread about this about a year ago or so - and about twenty people, me included, chimed in to say they used to do the exact same thing and still do! I wouldn't worry about it.

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#5 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 08:09 AM
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I think that was my thread a year ago! Yes, my DD does this--she often is reading 10 books or so at once. I can tell she really like something when she drops all her other current books and focuses solely on that. She also does not finish a lot of what she reads. I sometimes remind her of books that I know she was enjoying that will have to go back to the library, but mostly I've decided that this is just how she is.

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#6 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 11:30 AM
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Both my kiddos and myself do this.


Dependent on the book available, the subject, the time of day, etc. All of us often have multiple books running.


DDs often have a book they are reading in the car (left there at time), a book we are reading together at night chapter by chapter, a few non-fiction books they have all bookmarked in spots they like or are reading, and one or two laying around the house bookmarked.


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#7 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 04:25 PM
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I don't do this, but my husband does. He usually has several nonfiction books on different topics going at the same time, and sometimes more than one fiction book.  He reads every day, but he isn't always in the mood for the same thing that he was reading yesterday. His interests are wide and he pursues a lot of stuff at the same time.


Your son sounds sort of the same. He is reading widely in a lot of different areas. That's awesome. Please don't discourage him from pursuing a lot of different interests. 

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#8 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 04:32 PM
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I did this as well. I still will occasionally as long as they are rather different. It's rarer for me to do as an adult. I think largely because I read so fast now that I finish my book quickly and can move onto the next one.


Honestly, I find it strange that my son doesn't do this. I see it as the norm since both my brothers and I always had several books going at once.

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#9 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post

Both my kiddos and myself do this.

I'm similar too. I don't think it's much different from taking 7 different courses at school, or following four or five different weekly TV series. 


While I generally prefer to have only one novel on the go at a time, I'll often be in the middle of several non-fiction books as well. Because I read aloud to my kids (from YA and non-fiction), that usually means I'm in the middle of at least four different books. Perfectly normal to me.


My dd went through a phase when she was reading well in excess of 12 hours a day. Five hours a day sounds fine to me, so long as it's not interfering with sleep, meals, hygeine, family time and exercise.



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#10 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 08:15 PM
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we are like your son too. as loraxc pointed out i know dd REALLY likes a book if she focuses only on one and drops the other for the moment.


are you talking about 5 hours a day on a school day? that would be too much for me. meaning if she did that 5 days a week during school days. when she finds a really good book and cant put it down till she is done i am fine to let her read it till it is done - even if that means all night as long as no school or early morning plans the next day.


this summer like all summers i had to tell her to stop reading. mind you because she is a phase girl she can read constantly for a week and then not for a few days and then again pick up. sometimes if it gets way too much and she is pushing away fun opportunities that's when i ask her to stop reading. 


however i remember when dd's reading took off she absolutely devoured books for the first month or so and then slowed down. 

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#11 of 14 Old 09-05-2011, 08:49 PM
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This afternoon dd, 6yo, walkrd into the den with a stack of 10 books and a handful of 10 loops for one of those loom things.  She said, "I want to read all these books right now, so I'm just going to read one chapter out of each one at a time.  These are my bookmarks."


When I was a kid, it used to drive my 3rd grade teacher crazy because I was reading several books at a time.  But, I could always keep them should see my kindle these days. It's pretty cool the number of books I have to chose from now...(and a little embarrassing...) :)


I think it's a sign that child has figured out that books are like conversations with lots and lots of people.  They are full of thoughts and ideas and feelings, and they live.  It's less about reading for the story, and more about reading for the ideas, for the things to ponder. 


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#12 of 14 Old 09-06-2011, 02:25 AM
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My DD (who is gifted), but also both boys (one 2E, one just a great 7 year old) do this, too, and me, too!  I think this especially makes sense with nonfiction, as it allows you to cover varying interests but even more importantly, approach a main interest from several different angles.  This is used a lot in the adult world when researching (non experimental research) and is actually a pretty good skill to learn, as one source book wouldn't tell all.  Also, how to's, like your son's origami book, are made for both reading and doing, so it's showing a nice broad range of activity.  I prefer one fiction on the go (I feel like I can get into it more) but my daughter often has three on the go like your son, and now that she's 9, I've noticed that they all get finished anyway (but they didn't always at age 7).  I've also noticed that if a story really captivates her, then she will start to read just the one book.  It looks from the mix of books the OP posted that he's a pretty well-rounded boy to be enjoying the maths and sciences (and origami's a great math/art bridge!) and still be enjoying his three novels!  I'd fly with it!

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#13 of 14 Old 09-06-2011, 07:14 AM
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I also would read several books at once when I was a child. Now I focus on one novel at a time. If I start a second and it's a better written, more compelling story, it's just too hard to go back to the first. I don't like abandoning books, so I finish them one at a time. Both DS and DD will read multiple books at a time too. 


I wouldn't limit reading time, unless he isn't participating in any regular exercise at all. Even if that's the case, I'd try distracting him with fun activities, rather than presenting it as a limit on reading time or number of books on the go at one time.  



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#14 of 14 Old 09-07-2011, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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We homeschool, so it's not 5 hours after school or anything.  That might be a little intense.  I don't ever limit reading time, although I do encourage him to leave his books indoors, partly because he has left them out in the rain more than once, and also so that he runs around and plays more. 


I'm glad to hear that so many people do this and that it isn't a problem with concentration.  I guess it does make sense that people do research this way. 


I'm proud of my kiddo.  I think he's wonderful!  And I'm so glad that he has discovered reading.  His little 5 year old sister is a little sad though I think.  They used to play for those 5 hours just a year ago.  No longer.  Now his sister wants to learn to read too.  She's trying, but it's really hard for her to focus - I don't think she's quite developmentally ready.  We're taking it slowly.    

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