As a parent, it can feel frustrating when your child wants to reread the same book (or series) over and over again.
There are so many great books out there to read and they’re just cycling endlessly through the same book instead of branching out.
It might be a toddler wanting you to read them the same picture book ten times in a row or it might be a fifth grader reading the Harry Potter series on repeat.
The good news is that this is VERY normal behavior for a child.
The really good news is that there are a lot of benefits of rereading!
Here are some things to know about rereading:
8 Benefits of Rereading for Children
- Rereading is very comforting. Children (let’s be honest. . . most humans, regardless of age) thrive on familiarity. It’s hugely reassuring to return to the same stories and pictures and characters – it’s the same reason lots of adults re-watch favorite movies or tv shows when they’re sick or sad. Especially when there are lots of changes going on in their lives (a move, divorce, global pandemic, new class or activity, a new sibling, and on and on), rereading a book can give a sense of stability that the outside world isn’t providing.
- Rereading helps build a larger vocabulary. Children are building their vocabularies at incredible rates during those formative years and rereading is one of the simplest ways to help build it. Just like you wouldn’t expect your child to be an expert walker after one set of steps, vocabulary growth comes from repeated exposure to words and phrases. If you enjoy reading research articles, this is a fascinating one about how three year olds who were read the same book several times learned new vocabulary words while those who were read a variety of different books didn’t learn any of the new words.
- Rereading helps children understand how language and reading works. We can all spot the difference between a reader who is reading each word carefully aloud and a reader who is smoothly reading with great rhythm and pattern. Great reading is more than just decoding words on a page – it’s understanding how words and language should sound. Listening to a parent read aloud the same book repeatedly or rereading the same book on their own helps children develop that understanding of how language works and how books tell stories.
- Rereading supports fluency. We all want to help our children develop into fluent readers who aren’t stumbling over every single word. Rereading is one of the BEST ways to build that fluency because they are building on their previous knowledge of the story and vocabulary and instead of having to focus so much on each word, they can read with much more fluency on repeat readings.
- Rereading builds comprehension skills. One of the most common questions I get about Savvy Reading is comprehension – many kids are skilled at decoding the words on the page, but have a difficult time comprehending what those words are actually saying outside of the single word itself. Rereading is a fantastic way to build comprehension skills. With every reread, they’re able to focus more on the plot and characters and other literary parts of the story and less on the actual mechanics of reading. If your child struggles with comprehension, rereading is a simple way to work on building those comprehension skills!
- Rereading makes kids more confident readers. A child that reads fluently, has a great vocabulary and can comprehend the story are going to be more confident readers – since rereading helps build ALL those skills, the more they reread, the more confident they’ll become as readers.
- Rereading helps children identify as readers. The thing that helps children feel like readers? READING. If you’re shutting down rereading or shaming your child for choosing to return to a favorite book, they’re more likely to resist reading in general and that’s going to make them feel less like a reader. Give your child as many opportunities as you can to have positive experiences with books and reading and build strong and happy associations with books – rereading is such a simple way to do this! Making your child feel badly for their reading preferences is an equally simple way to make sure they don’t want to read at all or feel like they’re a reading failure.
- Rereading creates wonderful memories. Reading together is such a great way to create strong bonds with your child and the books you read the most often are likely going to be the ones your child remembers best from their childhood. Your child won’t remember 1000 different books you read with them, but they’ll likely remember the handful of ones you read on repeat.
Do you have a child who loves to reread? What benefits have you seen from rereading books?