When Do You Abandon a Book?

Image from helenplum.org

Image from helenplum.org

So, I didn’t post yesterday because I was basking in the delight of having two kids at camp and the whole day to myself. I went to the grocery store by myself (all of the moms reading know how glorious that is) and spent the rest of my day reading my book.

I read at the breakfast table, in the carpool line, lounging in my favorite cozy chair, even while on the elliptical. I could not put the book down! Which is funny, because just a week ago, I wasn’t so sure I was into this book. Maybe it was the author’s writing style, maybe it was because I’ve read a bunch of other WWII-era novels lately, I don’t know what it was– but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Which makes me wonder…

When do you abandon a book?

When do you feel like you just aren’t interested, or you’re not engaged with the characters and storyline, or for whatever reason the book is just not sucking you in?

When is it okay to just put the book aside and try something new?

For Second Grade almost Third Grade readers, if a book or series is not engaging or feels too easy or too hard, it’s always okay to set it aside. Sometimes I think we forget when we choose good fit books that part of what makes it a good fit is our interest in the story or topic (remember the I-PICK song??? “Interest, interest, do I like it?”). If we are not interested, we are less likely to get in the “reading zone,” and then reading can feel like a chore instead of fun. When you really like a book and want to read it, you think about it when you’re not reading and can’t wait to get back to it.

Although a week ago I was ready to set this book aside for another time, I’m actually glad I stuck with it for just a little longer. Halfway through the book, it got very exciting, and I’m now fully engrossed. Should I have abandoned the book a week ago in search of something better? Maybe. Maybe not.

So…. when do you abandon a book?

I’m still not sure I know, but I do know that it’s always okay to put a book aside. Maybe you are just not ready for it yet.


8 thoughts on “When Do You Abandon a Book?

  1. Such a great question, Samantha! I, too, struggle with book abandonment. I will confess that I have a stack of partially read books. Books that I know I should return to at some point. That stack is not getting smaller.

    I also wonder how to coach sweet Annie. Y’all are teaching me so much about stamina and close reading. How might we change tactics to encourage perseverance?

    • I love your thought about perseverance, Jill. I’m thinking about younger readers who are having trouble with stamina…. The book is not engaging them either because it’s too easy, too hard, or the topic/story/characters are not interesting to the child. I want those children to know it’s okay to abandon a book that’s not really working for them, so they can move on to something that does interest them. As we know from Richard Allington, kids need to read at an appropriate reading level and they need to read A LOT to get better. So, if a reader abandons a book in favor of a better fit book, which gets them to read more, EXCELLENT. If a child is a chronic abandoner and just can’t stay in a book the whole way through, a goal should definitely be to persevere and complete the book. I do believe I’ve had kids with that goal before!

      • Julie says:

        I agree, if a book is interesting the young ones are likely to finish. As for me I started a book two summers ago and wasn’t finishing it so put it away and picked it up a week ago and I finally got into it. I think the time just wasn’t right for me for the theme before:)

      • Julie, yes! This! I totally agree. Even as proficient readers, sometimes it’s just not the time for us to get into that particular book. For kids learning to be proficient readers, it’s the same, although sometimes the reason why it’s not the right time might be different (usually because it is too hard). Often when we put a book aside for awhile, when we come back to it, something clicks. Happy reading!

  2. Sadler says:

    hi mrs.Steinberg hope you are having a great summer. I’m reading diary of a wimpy kid. And when i’m finished with that I’m going to start Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. i will let you know when I’m done.

    • Hi, Sadler!!! I’m so happy to hear from you! I love that you have book plans. Have you started Winn Dixie yet? It is one of my all-time favorites. Let me know where you are in the book. Happy reading!

  3. Sadler says:

    hi Mrs. stien berg I finished diary of a wimpy kid . I forgot my book at home when I went to my beach house becuase I did’nt think I would finsh. when I get home I will start.

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