Story Repetition Helps Children
Learn More Words

Feb 24, 2011: New research shows that reading the same story to your child repeatedly can help them learn new words more effectively than reading a different book every time.

Who isn't guilty of pleading with their child at one time or another to choose a different book. "Please, please, please ... not that one which I have read every night for the last three weeks", we beg our children. Usually our pleas are ignored and we resign ourselves to another night of reading our child's favourite book of the moment.

Well, apparently we shouldn't be discouraging our children, according to academics at the University of Sussex. The benefits of reading to children are well known, but new research has shed a little more light on how learning happens when children are read to.

Researchers found that children asking for repeated readings of a storybook are more likely to acquire new vocabulary than children asking for a different book each time.

The thinking behind this is that each time a child hears a story they remember different aspects of that story. For example, in the first reading they may only pick up on the basic story, but in further readings they may notice more details in the descriptions and hence also pay greater attention to new vocabulary they encounter.

If they came across this new vocabulary in a number of different stories, but each story was only read once, the child would be less likely to pay attention to the new words.

So, next time your child asks for the same book "just one more time" grit your teeth, smile, and read it willingly, knowing that it really is worthwhile in the long run!




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