(Even If It Drives You Nuts)
Does your child have a favorite book they want to read over and over again? Or worse, wants you to read over and over again? I bet you’ve memorized every word. You loved its adorable illustrations and clever text when you first brought it home, but now you’ve grown to hate it. You might even wish it would disappear forever. I feel your pain. I know it can be maddening, but before you toss this particular book, you may want to reconsider. Despite its annoyances, repetitive reading — whether you’re reading to your child or they’re reading to you — offers a surprising number of benefits for new readers.
Vocabulary and Word Recognition
The more a child reads, the larger their vocabulary becomes. When a child reads or hears the same book multiple times, they become familiar and comfortable with a greater number of words. That text you’ve memorized? Chances are your child has too, and that’s a good thing.
Pattern and Rhythm
Hearing favorite stories read aloud helps children become aware of the pattern and rhythm of text. Language is more than just words — it’s how words sound and connect to each other. Parents can model the rhythms of reading for children who are just learning how language works.
Fluency is the ability to read text “accurately, quickly, and with expression.” Repetitive reading allows a child to read without stumbling or stopping, and reading time becomes more pleasant for everyone. Once a child masters one book, it makes moving on to another more appealing.
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand all the components of a story — from plot to character development to symbolism. Comprehension is “the essence” of reading. Each time your child reads or hears a book read to them, they learn more about the story itself. Each pass through the text or illustrations allows them to dive deeper into the story’s meaning, preparing them for more complex narratives down the road.
With fluency and comprehension comes greater reading confidence. Children who can follow a story and don’t stumble over words are more self-assured about their abilities and more likely to enjoy reading.
Knowing that repetitive reading is good for your kids may not make reading Goodnight Moon for the thousandth time any easier, but maybe it’ll help you stay sane while you do it.