Benefits of Children Re-reading the
Same Picture Book
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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.
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.
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.