Does your child have a favorite book that you practically have memorized? Many young children relish their books, and often times have a favorite few books they want read over … and over … and over again. My husband was surprised when he heard me reciting Good Night, Moon (without the book) to my daughter before bed one night.
When your child brings you her favorite book for what seems like the millionth time, it’s easy to be annoyed, or roll your eyes, or suggest another book! However, know that when your child is relentless and won’t give in to a change of “scenery”, you are bringing many wonderful learning opportunities to your child.
So, what does it do for your child, to hear the same book over and over? Lots! Most important in these early years of reading is what is called “concepts of print” … this is what you and I take for granted, but can take awhile for your child to grasp. This includes, reading from left to right, turning the pages in order, holding the book upright (instead of upside down and backwards!), that pictures tell a story and so much more. By seeing reading in action with your modeling, your child begins to pick up on these concepts which is essential for beginning reading to take place.
Does your child “read” with you? Because you read the same text over and over, your child’s brain begins to notice patterns in the words which helps them memorize what you are reading. As they hear these words, and see the pictures in the book, they begin associating the words with the pictures (YES!) … and use the pictures to remind them of what words come next. This is, again, a skill you and I take for granted… but you would be AMAZED at how many elementary schools can’t use those pictures to help them read.
When your child enters elementary school, using pictures to decode unfamiliar words is a skill most kindergarden and first grade teachers focus on. By reading to them now, especially the same text over and over again, they begin to pick up on this skill and will wow those teachers in a few years!
Many books that our young children love also have what’s called “predictable text” … this is text that is repeated over and over and over again throughout the book. This text is wonderful for young readers because it sets them up for success. Once they figure out the first words, such as “brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me!” … they next pages are easy peasy for them, because they already know them! This creates a confident reader who is excited about holding a book and turning those pages, time and time again.
As your child gets older, they may not want to have the same book read time and time again … but be intentional about doing it anyway! Repeated reading is a tool elementary school teachers use all the way through 5th grade. We (teachers) use this because, as kids see the same word time and time again, and hear the word associated with it, eventually they connect the two and can read that word with ease and confidence over time.
Next time your child brings you his favorite book for story time, embrace it! Know that your child’s desires have a reason … the most important being their love for reading will continue to grow!