Why Your Child Wants To Hear The Same Book Again And Again


Why Your Child Wants To Hear The Same Book Again And Again

By Hallie Bulkin

Does your toddler ask you to read them the same book every night at bedtime? Are you thinking, wow I am glad they love books and reading but “that one AGAIN…SERIOUSLY?” Yes, your child is SERIOUS!

It might drive you crazy but you may find some reassurance in knowing that your child’s request for the same book over and over again is helping them to acquire new words. In fact, research has shown that children who hear the same story repeatedly learn more words at a faster pace as compared to same aged peers who heard a variety of stories. This usually starts between 2-3 years of age.

Now this doesn’t just happen when reading books, this happens in other areas, too. For example, your child may request “twinkle, twinkle litter star” repeatedly (until you are blue in the face)!

There are components of familiarity and predictability that also come into play when your child requests books and songs to be repeated (ya know, like a broken record).

So what can you do to help yourself as the parent, teacher, and/or caregiver in this situation?

  • Choose books or nursery rhymes that you wouldn’t mind hearing daily! I have favorites that I can think of off the top of my head! I will list some at the end of this article.
  • Pick books with repetitive phrases so that once your child becomes more familiar s/he will start participating by filling in the blanks and you will be able to interact with the book, together! What fun!
  • Once your child knows enough of the story you can ask them to read the book to YOU! They may not read word for word but chances are they remember much of what each page is about and the ending! How cool that they can “read” to you without really reading the words 😉
  • Have a daily reading time as part of your routine. It can be in the morning, afternoon or night. It doesn’t matter. I do know that many parents prefer to read books with their child before bed as it is a good way to calm them down before sleep.
  • Change it up by making silly voices for the characters or animals in the book. Your toddler will think this is HILARIOUS!

What are the other benefits if reading the same book OVER and OVER again?

  • After your child hears their favorite book multiple times, they will remember the ending. This will help them to understand sequences. For example, each story has a beginning, middle and end.
  • When they can anticipate what is going to happen at the end, they are able to attend better to the story. Some may get bored, but most will be highly attentive because they know what is to come!
  • If you have a child with anxiety or that feels overwhelmed, a familiar book can be comforting for your toddler. Children need security and structure, which is why I LOVE picture schedules for children who need them (in actuality every child thrives from a picture schedule but that’s a topic for another article).
 You may not be aware but it takes about 80 exposures to a new word before a child adds it to their vocabulary. That said, it makes sense that children who hear the same words in the same books repeatedly (as compared to same-aged children who hear a variety of books) acquire more words at a faster pace.
So go out and grab a few books that you wouldn’t mind reading a few hundred (er…a thousand? times!) Some of my ALL TIME FAVORITE’S that I NEVER get sick of are:
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Good Night Moon
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
  • Hi, Pizza Man
  • No, David!
  • The Going-To-Bed Book
  • Moo Baa La La La
  • The Little Engine That Could

Of course, my favorites may not be yours. Be sure to give some of the books a read through before you pull it off the shelf and read it to your toddler for the first time. Remember, you might be stuck with it for a while 😉



13 thoughts on “Why Your Child Wants To Hear The Same Book Again And Again

  1. I sure hope so! I know a lot of parents who go crazy over the number of times their kid(s) want to read the same book! :)~

  2. Hi Hallie,

    I loved your fun way of incorporating the positive side of repetitive reading! So important to pick books you would enjoy as a parent. That was a great read! Thanks, Amy

  3. You are welcome Amy! I do try to put a positive spin on whatever I can, I am glad you noticed the positives!

  4. I love your book list, these are some of our favorites too! We do a lot of repetitive reading and my girl has the vocabulary to match. It was great reading the benefits you listed too.

  5. I LOVVVVVED reading books to my kids! We will still randomly quote a line here and there from different books that were read over and over and they are all teens! 🙂

  6. I love those books and I would add The Brave Cowboy and Goodnight Cowboy. I never get sick of reading those to my son. I love when he can “read” the story to me 🙂 Great post!!

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