Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hidden Benefits of Reading the Same Book Over and Over





Even if you are bored with a particular book, reading the same storybook many times over is really good for children. In the case of dialogic reading (incorporating conversation outside of the written text into your reading time) going over the same story more than once enables a child to learn new vocabulary items well enough to us them in answer to questions. This is exactly what researcher Monique Senechal found when she read 3-year-olds a story either one time or three times. Toe two extra times make a big difference in the ability of the children to remember the meanings of ten new target words—like “angling,” “fedora,” and “satchel.” What’s more, when the three readings also included questions to the child (a la dialogic reading), the number of words remembered went up even higher—to average of almost 70 percent.

If that’s not enough to convince you, a study by Peter Jusczyk and Elizabeth Hohne has even shown that by the end of three readings, babies as young as 8 months recognize as familiar the specific words they’ve heard in the story. Unlike the 3-year-olds in Senechal’s study, babies this young aren’t learning what the words actually mean. They are, however, learning to recognize the sequence of sounds from which these words are made. Even at 8 months, then, rereading the stories leaves an impression on a baby’s mind.

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook)!

Linda

Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, the Baby Signs® Program
and
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
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