Benefits of Children Re-reading the Same Book

Benefits of Children Re-reading the Same Book

Benefits of Children Re-reading the
Same Picture Book

In childhood, “as we become accustomed to a world in which change is the only real constant, the familiarity of the book at bedtime is something to cling to.” – Sarah Seltzer
 
Does your child repeatedly read the same books over and over again? In my role as a teacher and librarian, I have met many parents who despair at their child repeatedly choosing the same book to read. They start to dread storytime because they cannot read that book one more time! They wanted advice on how they could encourage their children to switch up their reading. My response wasn’t always what parents wanted to hear! There are many benefits to repeated reading, particularly for young children learning to read.

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Increased Vocabulary

Increased vocabulary aids comprehension. So it makes sense that increased exposure to reading increases vocabulary. However, when a child rereads the same text, they memorise more than when exposed to many new words. 

The key to learning new vocabulary is through familiarity with those words. Research with 3-year-olds shows those who repeatedly read the same book increased their vocabulary more than those who read a variety of books. Not that the children with the choice of text didn’t improve, they did, but the increase was not as great as those with multiple exposures to the same text.

Phonemic Awareness Development

Repeated reading strengthens an understanding of the pattern, rhythm and pronunciation of text. Developing a deeper understanding of phonemic awareness involves identifying, hearing and manipulating separate sounds in words, an important early stage of learning to read. Reading aloud promotes the connection between the correct pronunciation and spelling. This will only grow through the exposure to the same vocabulary.

Comprehension Skills

Repeated reading provides an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of a book’s plot or character development something not possible reading a book once. Exploring the text and illustrations helps children delve into the story’s message and make new connections, preparing them for more complex narratives. Rereading provides an opportunity to answer more complex and elaborative questions and offer judgements and opinions.

Confidence Building

Memorisation is important to developing increased vocabulary, reading fluency and accuracy. Reading a book without pausing or waiting for an adult to reveal an unknown word is confidence boosting. Often, when a child gets to this point, they will move onto new books with new challenges. Remember, greater confidence develops into a lifelong love of reading.
 
Rereading books without judgement helps children further develop their reading skills, vocabulary and confidence, even if it is frustrating for you!

What About Older Children?

Interestingly, research shows repeated reading doesn’t benefit secondary aged students. It claims “secondary pupils are falling behind in their reading because they are not moving on from writers they first met in primary school.” However, Andrew McCallum argues in The Guardian the research is missing the point of what reading is about. He argues for the benefits of older children rereading their favourite books. Find out more about using picture books with older children.

What Next?

Now we know the benefits of repeated reading it shouldn’t stop us from encouraging children to explore new authors and genres.
 
Here are some websites you can use with your children to explore new options. All you have to do is type in the name of a loved book or author and review the suggestions. Some of these sites are more suitable for older children or even adults so make sure you take a look first. 
These book pickers are more for adults, so why don’t you explore your next read!

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Benefits of Children Re-reading the Same Book
8 Benefits to Reading With Children Every Day

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