Why Your Kids Love Repetition in Reading

Again! Again! Again!”

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just blown raspberries on your baby’s cheek or belly, swung your toddler in the air, or read aloud a particularly beloved book… and your child immediately squeals, “Do it again!”

Don’t groan – celebrate! That means your child’s brain is developing exactly as it should. Especially in reading (and re-reading, and re-re-re-reading), you are doing something wonderful on so many levels.

Why Children Love Repetition

Why do children love “read and repeat”? Here are three reasons to repeat:

  1. Cognitive. Repeating actions, including reading books, strengthens neural connections and creates deep learning. Children’s brains are hungry for repetitive experiences, so when they say “Again!”, remember that their gray matter is essentially saying “Make me smarter, Mom!”
  2. Emotional. When you read books again and again to your children, you are also building all of their positive emotional centers: joy, comfort, belonging. Snuggling up with a book (or even reading to them while they are bouncing around but still listening) is an excellent opportunity to strengthen your bond with your children.
  3. Physical. Finally, the physical act of opening a book and reading it is creating a muscle memory, an automatic action that will help your child when he or she is in school. What do you do when you’re bored or need some quiet time? Read!

Keep it Interesting

Speaking of bored… This is often the downside to the entire “Read it again!” scenario. What is exciting and interesting and brain-building for a 3-year-old is not often the same as what excites a 33-year-old.

How do you keep reading the same book 10 times in a row interesting or valuable for yourself AND your child? A few tips:

  • Expand the story. When you’re on the umpteenth reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, find ways to use the content to talk about related things. “Oh, these strawberries look juicy! You like strawberries, don’t you? What else do you think the caterpillar would like to eat?”
  • Look for hidden parts of pictures, or ask your child to imagine a “Part Two” to the story. “What if the hungry caterpillar went to the State Fair? What would he do there?”
  • Remember the memory. In the busy storm of parenting life, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day-ness of everything. Use reading aloud time to step back and be conscious of the positive memory you are making with your child.
  • Choose great books! Your library is a great place to find books that will stand up to repeated reading. Many children’s authors have a double awareness of needing to connect with children while giving adults doing the reading aloud something to keep them interested. Ask your friendly neighborhood librarian for some suggestions!

Storytime In Your Pocket! Build-A-Reader App Launches

Now you can carry great library learning experiences — in your pocket! The Tulsa City-County Library is proud to announce the release of our Build-A-Reader app, which combines practical literacy tips, great book suggestions, and videos of library staff demonstrating brain-building (and fun!) songs, fingerplay, and activities to do with your child. It’s FREE, and you can find it in your app store by searching “Tulsa Library.”

Categories: Books and Literacy