Read that book again—it’s good for the child
Even though we have the words memorized and the child knows what will happen in the end, research says reading the same books over again is important.
Can you think of that one song you love to listen to? It’s the one when you hear it on the radio you turn it up really loud and know all of the words by heart. That song gives you a feeling that if you flipped the radio station and heard it playing again, you’d sing along just as loud if not louder than the time before.
Isn’t it funny how we can think of that song and never get tired of it? It’s also ironic that as adults, when those little ones bring us the same book over and over again, we can see the joy in that child’s face knowing we’ll read that book to them. Yet, we can feel the dread of having to utter the words on those pages one more time. So, we read that book again, even though we may have the words memorized and we know the child knows what happens in the end. It’s so important to read that book regardless of the emotion it creates in us. Why? Because research says it’s important!
A study published by the Frontiers in Psychology called “Get the Story Straight: Contextual Repetition Promotes Word Learning from Storybooks” found the following:
- When children are read the same book several times, they were able to recognize and remember a new word better than kids who were read several different books containing the same vocabulary.
- Encouraging a child to anticipate and talk about what happens next in the story helps them participate in the story by repeating words that are said or saying the words before they are actually read out loud.
- Repetition encourages children to recognize patterns.
- Children who are read the same story multiple times learn and understand the meaning of words more easily.
- The research behind repetition of reading books is encouraging for all families regardless of the availability of resources. Having an extensive library at home or just a few books is irrelevant. Reading the same book multiple times is what is important.
There really is benefit in reading the same book over and over again to our little ones. Although as adults we may loath reading that same book one more time, just know that it’s for the good of that child. The next time you hear that song on the radio, turn it up and sing every word—it’s because you have repetition to thank and probably a caring adult who read you the same book over and over again.
For more articles related to children's language and literacy development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.