Word Count Worries? What’s your opinion?

Saturday, December 6, 2008.

In today’s busy and fast-paced world, there are perhaps as many reasons to not read a book as there are to read one.

On this edition, we consider word count as one of the key reasons why many adults, parents and teachers alike, pass on reading some books aloud.

Be sure to share your thoughts on word count: post a comment or leave a voice message on our hotline, +1.206.350.6487.

Some generously worded books on JOMB:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book, or one of our many book and reading related discussions. Leave us a voice message on the JOMB listener hotline, +1.206.350.6487.

Filed under: Discussions,Podcast


Comment by Evelyn

December 6, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

I prefer books with no more than two sentences per page for reading to young children. It needs to be that short to keep eye contact, talk about the pictures, topic etc. Books with only one or two sentences per page encourage children to begin to imitate reading and eventually help them begin to read without being overwhelmed with words.

Comment by Just One More Book!!

December 6, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

Thanks for weighing in, Evelyn. And when reading picture books to older children does word count play into your book choice?

Comment by Tara Lazar

February 15, 2009 @ 10:05 am

I’m so glad you’re talking about this. At every writing event I attend, a 500 to 800 word count for picture books is emphasized…and I think that’s a shame. I have two children who love to be read to at night. For us, it’s an experience–a time to wind down and share a good story. But 500 words is finished in 3 minutes. Maybe it’s purposeful. To read to my child for what I perceive to be an appopriate amount of time–a half hour or more–I have to buy a lot more books!

I have heard that the current industry perception is today’s parents are busy and they want something quick to put their kids to bed. I agree that our lives are more fast-paced than ever before, but we place importance on reading in our house, and I think a lot of other people do, too.

We love the Brambly Hedge series by Jill Barklem. These little picture books are intricately drawn with sublime prose and are much longer than that 500-word deadline. They probably would not be easily published today.

We do read the shorter books simply because that’s what’s available. And as a writer, I’m writing those shorter books because I’m told that’s what will get published. But I don’t necessarily agree with the trend. There are many marvelous stories that need more than 1000 words to be told. When I find them, I read them. And the kids eat it up.

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