Counting Books?

July 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized)





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A friend of mine forwarded an email to me she had received on her blog.  The basic question was this:

We have a son who has ADHD.  A friend is telling us he should be reading 200 chapter books in 4th grade.  Our friend’s child read 1000 books in one year as part of Pres. Bushes reading program. What expectations should we place on our fourth grader in regards to reading?

Here is my response:

I have been a homeschool mom for years now and I do not require my children to read a certain number of books each year.  I am much more concerned about having kids who love to read and do it because they love it!  I don’t even want  my kids counting how many books they read!  We look at education as a life long love.  If they are counting then they are turning it into “something that has to get done.”  I don’t want them to ever be done reading!  I also want my children to be humble.  I think teaching them to keep count of how many books they have read  and being ready to quote that number at any given moment is counterproductive.  I  would much rather have them talking to someone using the knowledge they have gleaned from a book, as the natural consequences of being a reader,  than just be able to tell people they have read XYZ number of books!

Also, books are NOT the only source of learning!  (This is coming from someone who has 11 bookcases FULL in my house, I do love books!)  But, if you have a child who does not enjoy reading why would you punish him by making him read 200 books a year?  Yes, he needs to read.  But he is also learning while he is  listening to books on tape, being read to, going to plays, making up his own stories, building things with Dad, climbing a tree, cooking with Mom, teaching a younger sibling or friend something he knows, etc.  The beauty of homeschooling is we can personalize the education that works best for our children.  Of course the public schools are going to count how many books kids read and count that as success.  How else can you gauge learning when you are teaching 30 kids?  With homeschooling we have the advantage that we can truly know how each of our children learn and customize their education to them.  To me that is much more valuable than knowing the number of books my kids have read of the top of my head.

People will tell you a lot of crazy things through the years I have heard them all!  Follow Gods lead and continue to do what is best for your son.  You won’t regret it!

If you would like to get a general idea of what a fourth grader should be learning you can check out the World Book Scope and Sequence.

Also, feel free to stop by my blog.  I talk about all kinds of fun and crazy things our family does for school.

Happy Homeschooling,




  1. westward said,

    Amen, sister! :o)

  2. joedeb said,

    Well said! My son is dyslexic, and I really have to fight the pressure of others to see him achieve certain milestones or "keep up with the Joneses"! To me, having my precious boy pick up a chapter book and read it without being forced or scheduled to do so is far more important to me than trying to read so many books by an arbitrary deadline. Loving learning is the primary goal for our family. The rest will come.

  3. kaenhu said,

    and what I ended up doing was reading a lot of books well below my reading level just for show. I also had poor comprehension of the books that I did read, because I read them so fast.

    It is far better to concentrate on enjoying reading, loving books, and content than numbers!

    I wish I could blog like you!

  4. Anonymous said,

    Hi, I’ve recently discovered Bayard’s Books which seem to have the right mix of education and fun : Also, I see they have a guest illustrator for one of their stories in the September edition of Storybox – award winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury, who also provided illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. Also they have some great ideas for a rainy day!

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