You want to read that book again?!
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Why do kids want to read the same book over and over (and over and over)?
There's actually a good reason. Kids want repetition because they need it to learn. There's an abundance of research highlighting the need for repetition in young children.
When they continue to request the same story, they are showing they enjoy this story, but also that they are still learning from the pictures, words, and the interactions you have as you read this book together.
On each repetition your child will focus on something different, notice something different and pay attention to different words. When they feel they have squeezed all the information out of it that they can, they start reaching for a different book
"You might not think storybooks are complicated, but they contain 50% more rare words than prime-time television and even college students’ conversations. When was the last time you used the word giraffe in a conversation with a colleague?"
Read the full research and article here
Children don't usually see farm, zoo or ocean animals all too often in their day to day experiences. The same goes for volcanoes, rocket ships, dinosaurs, castles or princesses. But more importantly than these nouns (e.g. lion) are the verbs (e.g. swishing), adjectives (e.g. prickly) and adverbs (e.g. cautiously) that we don't use in conversations.
One of my all time favourite books for this is "Giraffe's can't dance" by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. It's a best seller for a reason!
Instead of only 'dancing', there is swaying, swishing, waltzing, and twirling. When you're reading these words, add some actions. Even better, get up and demonstrate!
The next morning as you load the kids in the car, make it a game of everybody waltzing (or creeping) to the car. It's not about the waltz; it's adding to their knowledge and understanding of words they've been exposed to elsewhere.
How can parents make the most of the current book preference?
Books provide a rich learning ground for children to learn about life beyond their immediate environments. Remember, this is a important step in your child's language development, so stick with it!
Each time you read it, highlight or emphasise different words, do a different action or ask different questions.
Take the conversation off the page by relating parts of the book to their own lives ("Can you twirl/sneak/creep?") and relate events or conversations that occur to something in the book ("You're still hungry? Like the very hungry caterpillar? He ate all day and got a belly ache!").
This type of talk is more challenging and further promotes children’s cognitive skills.
Remember, this too shall pass. Soon there will be a new favourite, and the current one will be back on the shelf.
For the love of literacy (and literacy success), read the book again!
- Teagan Pease
Speech Pathologist and self confessed children's book addict