Is It Okay For Young Children to Reread Books Over and Over?

Is repetition a good or bad thing?

    “Again!  Again!”  Any parent of a toddler has heard the plea to reread a book the instant you finish it.  So you read it again.  And again the next day.  And the next… 

Max and the Wild Things

    I personally must have read Where the Wild Things Are and Good Night Moon 10,000 times between 2003 and 2005.

     The love of repetition is part of the fabric of young children.  It’s how they learn.  Research shows that repetition in reading picture books helps young children acquire new vocabulary, learn different sentence structures, and helps them to learn new and different information about the story or illustrations each time they are exposed to it. 

     When a child is first learning to read, they may want to reread a book by themselves because they feel much more successful when they read it again.  It feels easier.  They know the words.  The story and characters are familiar.  The text has already been decoded for them. 

     Rereading the same book gives them a wonderful shot of confidence and builds on the notion that they are a reader.  Hooray!  When you do something well, you tend to enjoy it more.  Rereading for an emerging reader is an important factor in becoming a lifelong reader.  What could be more wonderful?

Good Night Moon Puppet Show

      A complaint some parents raise is that after a child has read a book over and over, they aren’t really “reading” it, they just have it memorized.  Well, yes, that is probably somewhat true, but so what?  That still doesn’t mean there isn’t value in them looking over the pages and becoming familiar with letters and words and basic storytelling principles.  It’s all part of the process of learning to read. 

     So yes!  When you’re reading to pre-school and young elementary school aged kids repeat stories knowing that repetition is a positive learning strategy and that your little emerging reader will learn more than the child who gets a different book every time.