Can we read it again... and again... and again?!
I’m a keen book reader and when I had my first child I had visions of us devouring picture books, constant trips to the library and looking forward to new a new book by our favourite author/illustrator. So, I was a little surprised (or do I dare admit, fed up) when my son had one favourite book. Yes, one. Not even three that we could alternate, but one that we had to read again and again and again.
After weeks had gone by and I could barely bear to read the book again, I remember reducing my child to tears when I demanded we read a second, different book. All that happened was that he wailed, whilst I hurriedly read through the book and it was a thoroughly depressing bedtime. This jolted me into to realising that I was being an idiot. Did it really matter if he only wanted to read Paddington Bear and the Tutti Frutti Rainbow? Surely when he was 17, he would have moved on and if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have to read it to him then!
And the good news is that we’re not still reading it. The Phase did pass. My son is now enjoying a big range of books, and is very much enjoying reading books by himself. This addiction, which must gone on for 4 months, did pass and it did not hold him back from learning to read, or from enjoying reading. He just loved that book.
Since then, I’ve found out that repetition of books can be very good for young readers. So, if you are also caught in a repetition rut, I hope these benefits can add a little comfort and prevent you from losing all of your sanity. I won’t lie, I can’t stop you from losing some of it.
Repetition is their friend:
Repetition improves vocabulary, it is embedding these word to their brains and allowing them to become familiar with them and understand their context.
Music to their ears
Listening to you read the same words over and over means they are learning the rhythm of the words and the lyrical way in which you read them (ok, so your voice may not be so animated by week 4). Listening to you, however, will help them with their reading and phrasing when they begin to learn to read themselves.
In depth knowledge
They know this book, they have chosen to love it, to make a connection with it and to understand it. The repetition means that they know the ins and outs of the story, the characters will feel like their friends and they’ll know every bit of illustration. You’ll wish they did this again when it comes to reading comprehensions at school.
A love of reading
It doesn’t matter that they are reading the same book again and again, they are enjoying reading and it is a comfort to them. You are giving them the gift of a love of reading.
So, as you are reading Stick Man for the 1547th time, keep in mind these benefits and hopefully it will help you get through it once, or twice more!
Happy Hooves, Yuk! is published by Fat Fox Books, £10.99 hardback