I was recently asked by a parent, “Is it better to read the same books over and over to my child or different ones?”. My answer? “Both”!
Here’s why. As I explained to this parent, who happened to have a toddler, reading the same books over and over may become boring to us but can benefit your child’s language growth. By developing some favorites on his or her bookshelf and reading them nightly at bedtime, your child will come to learn the words and vocabulary in those books so very well! You’ll be able to elicit some new vocabulary words out of your child by pausing at different parts of the book and letting him or her fill in the blank. If you have a young, pre-reader, allowing him or her to try “reading” the book to you will test out his or her memory and recall skills. It’ll also help your child practice formulating sentences, as he or she may mix in some of the words and phrases they remember from the book with some of their own descriptions.
When you read the same books repetitively, your child gains frequent exposure to the same words and the pictures that they represent. That helps him or her add the words to their receptive vocabulary and eventually, they’re likely to say these words that they’ve heard so many times within their daily lives! Reading a book several times also helps your child develop memory skills. He or she will start to remember the upcoming events within a book. And you can pause at various parts of the story and ask your child if he or she can tell you what’s going to happen next!
Now let’s talk about the value of incorporating NEW books. When you read new books with your child, it exposes him or her to vocabulary that they may not experience as often (or ever!) in their everyday environments! Stories can take us to amazing places – an island, the forrest, a castle…the possibilities are endless. And your child will see and hear about new concepts they might not otherwise experience!
Reading new and different books can help your child develop his or her inferencing or predicting skills! When they hear a story they’ve never read or listened to before, you can pause at different points of the story and prompt your child to predict what they think will happen next. Introducing new books can also be a great way of making sure you maintain your child’s love for reading. Reading new books can be exciting and motivating for kids – and keep them hooked for the long run!
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family