Repeated Reading - or Re-Reading Stories - Is an Essential Learning Tool
At first, it may seem that re-reading something you’ve already read is a waste of time. However, this is absolutely NOT the case. There are many positive benefits gained by the repeated reading of a book.
The Benefits of Repeated Reading
Repeated reading ...
- Advances vocabulary
- Boosts comprehension
- Cultivates fluency
- Develops decoding skills
- Encourages deeper learning
- Facilitates prediction
- Gives pleasure & comfort
Repeated Reading Advances Vocabulary
Repeated reading of a book leads to an increase in vocabulary when compared to reading a book just once and moving on to the next one. This has been proved by numerous studies.
Psychologist Dr Jessica Horst, and her team at the University of Sussex, devised an experiment which shows that reading the same story to children repeatedly is more likely to lead to a child developing new vocabulary.
This is because the same words are repeatedly presented in the same context which enables the brain to develop patterns and recall information more accurately.
Repeated Reading Boosts Comprehension
When books are re-read, children (and adults) gain new information and greater comprehension each time the book is read.
During the first reading of a book, the reader is introduced to the story. In subsequent readings, the child is able to look beyond the ‘newness’ of the story, the characters and events, to comprehend how things fit together and work.
Repeated reading enables readers to build a solid understanding of the meaning of words.
Repeated Reading Cultivates Fluency
The speed of children's reading naturally increases when they are familiar with the text and all of the vocabulary. Due to repeated reading, there are no unknown words or surprises to catch the reader unawares.
Repeated Reading Develops Decoding Skills
As words are repeatedly revisited, children have the opportunity to hear and practice decoding words. When words are frequently decoded, learning is consolidated.
Repeated Reading Encourages Deeper Learning
When we re-read books, we learn information quicker and with less effort. Dr Horst discovered that kids actually learn better when the information that they are not even trying to learn is repeated.
When re-reading a story, readers develop a more in-depth-understanding of how the elements of the story come together just as pieces of a puzzle make up an entire picture.
Repeated reading also offers many opportunities to reflect on the language used in the story.
Reading the story again allows readers to interact personally with the story ... to relate the events of the book to their own lives or with other books they’ve read ... or to questions such as “What would I do if ...?” or “How does this relate to my life experiences?”
Repeated Reading Facilitates Predictability
Being able to predict what will happen next enables children with a sense of mastery. They can recall what has happened, make sense of the events and place them in order. All of these things are necessary life skills which children will use over and over again through the years to follow. Re-reading enables children to foster cognitive skills needed to predict what will happen next.
Repeated Reading Gives Pleasure & Comfort
There’s something soothing and comforting about settling down with a book you’ve grown to love, especially for children. Being able to predict what will happen, knowing the characters you’ve come to love, seeing the familiar plot unwind, re-living the enjoyable experience of sharing a book with someone special … all help to bring children (and adults) pleasure and comfort. Re-reading a cherished book provides security and stability.
Repeated Reading Works for Older Children (and adults) as well as Toddlers
Anyone who has read a book to young children will know from experience that they LOVE reading the same book over and over again.
A while back, I noticed our 10 yr old re-reading thick chapter books 2 or 3 times. As silly as it seems now, I admit that I was concerned that he was re-reading the same books again and again. After all, surely, with such an immense array of good quality of books in the library, wouldn’t it be better to move on to the next book? Especially when so much time must be invested into reading a thick chapter book!
Yes, I admit, my thinking was faulty!
For the truth is that it’s not only toddlers who enjoy and benefit from re-reading books over and over. Older children experience the same benefits, as listed above, when they re-read a book!
Remembering this, I now rejoice that my son is revisiting books. Once again, it's my son who has taught me! :)
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