Why Rereading is an Important Reading Strategy for Comprehension

Why Rereading is an Important Reading Strategy for Comprehension

There are many advantages to rereading books including increased vocabulary, comprehension skills and confidence building. Find out why rereading is an important strategy for reading comprehension, particularly for struggling readers.

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Rereading IS an Important Strategy for Reading Comprehension

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 encouraging their children to switch up their reading. My response wasn’t always what parents wanted to hear!

Is Rereading Books Benefical for 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.

4 Reasons Why Rereading Books is an Important Strategy for Reading Comprehension

Rereading books has many benefits, particularly for young children learning to read. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Reading Increases Vocabulary

A great reading strategy for comprehension is increased vocabulary. 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 familiarity with those words. Research with 3-year-olds shows that those who repeatedly reread books increase 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.

2. Rereading Supports Phonemic Awareness Development

Rereading books strengthens an understanding of the pattern, rhythm and pronunciation of the 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 correct pronunciation and spelling. This will only grow through exposure to the same vocabulary.

3. Rereading Develops Comprehension Skills

Rereading books provides an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of a book’s plot or character development, something not possible by 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.

As a key reading strategy for comprehension, rereading books provides an opportunity to answer more complex and elaborative questions and offer judgements and opinions.

4. Reading Builds Confidence

Memorisation is an important reading strategy for comprehension, helping to develop 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.

In Summary

Rereading books without judgement helps children further develop their reading skills, vocabulary and confidence, even if it is frustrating for you!

Do you actively encourage your students to reread books as a reading strategy for comprehension? If not, why not?

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