Read It Again!

Eliza Clark
March 15, 2016

Anyone who spends any time reading to small children is going to hear these words: "Read it again!  Read it again!"

How wonderful.  Reading a good book with a caring adult is such a pleasurable experience for kids that they are bound to want that cozy, enraptured feeling to be repeated over and over.

But not just any book will get that kind of insistent encore.  Certain books click with certain kids at a given age or stage.  You can't know in advance what the next favorite will be.  In this and many other matters, your child will show you the way.  And when your little one does take to a book, whether because of the pictures, the language or the topic, be prepared to read it again and again.

As you're rereading your child's favorite for the umpteenth time, your mind may start to wander and wonder, precisely what is my kid getting out of all this repetition?  It's a good question, and one that literacy specialists have thought a good deal about.

Here are just a few of the things young children gain from rereading their favorite books:

  • A sense of mastery and competency derived from knowing what comes next.
  • A deepened understanding of all aspects of a particular story: character, events, themes, settings, language, and vocabulary.
  • An initial experience of word recognition.
  • A chance to reflect on several levels of a story, and to deepen reading comprehension skills.
  • Children who memorize books from many re-readings, and who like to pretend to read, are able to express their own sense of themselves as readers.

For all these reasons, repetition is an integral part of exposing young children to books.  When kids tell us to "read it again," they are letting us know what books are meaningful to them.  In this way, they are showing us how best to teach them, and selecting their own path of learning. 

They are also giving us clues about what kinds of new books to introduce - books by the same author or illustrator, on the same topic, or even a different version of the very same story.  Yes, there is hope: your little book-fanatic will eventually move on!

In short, when a child says "read it again," do.  The story's the same, but something new is happening in that kiddo's brain.

From the Parents

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