I am posting a new question because the previous one was answered as "Is the child able to read a book this long?" I really wanted to know "Is an adult willing to read this long?"

From cursory research, 10 to 15 minutes of out loud reading time seems to be typical for children's books for the 6 to 8 year old range. As a point of reference, "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel", a favorite from my childhood, takes about 11 minutes to read out loud.

What is the longest that a typical adult would be willing to spend reading a book to their child?

The reason that I ask is that I've written a book that takes about 25 minutes to read out loud and I am wondering if that makes it unmarketable. For what it's worth, I read the book to a class of ~8 year old children and was able to keep their attention.

  • This question is too broad, as children of different ages have different needs. You need to edit what age you are targeting; I think you also haven't distinguished this enough from your previous question. – Kirk Oct 17 '18 at 20:44
  • To know the answer you would probably need to create a survey, because adults and children have different needs, and also the reading speed can differ. – Sweet_Cherry Oct 17 '18 at 20:52

I'd say parents might not buy an 8-year-old a book for reading it out loud at all. Regardless of length. An 8-year-old can read, and read well. He has no need for someone to read a book out loud to him. In fact, a child might well be offended by the notion of having someone read to him - he's big now, he can do that himself, and he's proud of being big and able to do things himself.

Another thing to consider: an 8-year-old might well have younger siblings. So the parents would have to divide their time between several children. Or, even if there are no younger children, there's plenty the parents need to be doing: cooking, cleaning, etc. Reading is an enjoyable and educational activity that can keep a child entertained while the parents do something else. A book that needs to be read out loud defeats that purpose.

But what about parent-child interaction, you may ask? By that age, there are many other ways parents and children can interact, ways that are more interactive than reading to a child - that is, the child too is active. Remember that a child of 8 is reading on his own, so there's no longer a need to teach him that books are great, nor read to him what he's perfectly capable of reading on his own. Instead, a child of 8, much more so than a child of 4, is capable of answering questions like "what do you think about the book you've been reading while I made dinner?" "What do you think will happen next?" etc. Those questions help develop the child's critical thinking and imagination. (There's also games etc. - I don't mean to imply that the only possible interaction is around books.)

For significantly younger audiences, children of 3-5, parents would be buying books to be read out loud. Among my friends and relatives who have children that age, I don't know a single person who goes "this book is too long, I don't want to be reading for that much time." In fact, parents are very happy to encourage their children to take an interest in reading. A small child's attention span can vary greatly, that much is true, but a child who's routinely being read to develops a longer attention span. No surprises there.

Which begs the question - why is your target audience children of ~8? What makes the book inappropriate for younger audiences?

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    Agree with all this. I would be willing to read to a kid that needed it for segments of 30 minutes or so, as many as it took to finish the book, but I would seldom read to a kid that could read for themselves, and 8 year olds should be able to do that. I think you (crj11) are writing for a non-existent (or too tiny) demographic. They might be interested in short stories, if you could write about 50,000 words in such stories, you might publish that. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Oct 17 '18 at 22:02
  • @Galastel I think you are right that it is probably better targeted to a younger audience, perhaps 4-6, if it is targetable at all. I read it to 8 year olds because that was the age of the students in my son's class. I basically wrote it for recreation using characters created in off the cuff bedtime stories for my kids. – crj11 Oct 18 '18 at 0:57
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    @crj11 In a classroom setting, this might be well-received by 8yo. They are a captive audience, and many are bored with the alternative curriculum, so sure, listen to this man read them a story. It kills time. But just like a science movie, this might not be their choice for literary entertainment when free from the all the activity and behaviorial constraints of the classroom. In class, it doesn't feel weird for an adult to stand or sit facing them all, talking and reading. But it would feel weird to both kid and parent in a home or bedtime setting, once kids learn to read themselves. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Oct 18 '18 at 10:07
  • @Amadeus Good point about the captive audience. – crj11 Oct 18 '18 at 12:42

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