Reading & Repetition: Why Both Are Important For Babies & Preschoolers

Most parents have heard this refrain when they finish reading their child’s favorite book: “Again!” the child cries out in delight, hoping that as soon as the book ends their parent will begin reading it again right away.  Certain books make indelible impressions on children, and the more they hear them, the more they love them.

Reading to babies is just as beneficial as reading to toddlers and preschoolers. It doesn’t matter that they can’t hold the book themselves or make out what the letters and numbers mean. Their small brains are in a continual mode of development, and the more frequently you read to them, the more they learn.

In this post, we examine all the benefits of reading and repetition to babies and preschool children. Parents instinctively know that their child loves listening to a book’s narrative, so read on here to find out why!

1. Reading to them reinforces your bond.

Children love cuddling up in their parent’s lap and listening to a story. Although the narrative itself is part of the enjoyment, child care experts say that physical closeness is just as important to them. They feel warm, secure, and safe when enveloped in their parent’s arms; the story is a bonus that makes the experience even better. The child begins to subconsciously equate the joyful experience of reading with their parent’s love.

2. Repeating words and passages help a child learn words they may not otherwise hear.

For example, let’s say you’re reading a passage from a STEAM-themed book. (Science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). If the topic is not one that arises in everyday conversation at home, new words fill the air when your child listens to you reading. And because children are so innately curious, they will ask you what words mean and often try sounding them out right there on the spot. Reading becomes an activity that’s filled with teachable moments for your child.

3. Reading and repetition help develop their language skills.

Even if your baby isn’t speaking in sentences yet, or even if they haven’t said that all-important first word, reading to them is vital. They absorb the words you speak and file them away, so to speak, for use later on. Parents are often pleasantly surprised when they hear their child blurt out a word thought to be unfamiliar, but chances are they heard it in a story you read to them. For example, if your child one day says “engine!” seemingly out of the blue, most likely they remembered it from the book they heard the day before.

4. Repetition facilitates the learning of more complicated words.

When small children first begin talking, they obviously don’t have a complicated or fully developed vocabulary. Repeating words to them accelerates their learning, and gradually opens up new vistas for self expression. A young child learning language is like a sponge, and the more they hear words, the more quickly they are able to say them.

5. Consider bringing in their other senses, too

By this, we mean that developing their vocabulary can be hurried along if you bring their other senses to bear. For example: if you’re reading your child a book about a family’s new house, ask them to draw you a picture. Putting images in words is another way to cement their understanding of what words mean and represent.

6. Reading books lets you use your imagination and therefore heightens theirs, too.

When you’re reading your child their favorite story, consider using silly voices and lots of physical gestures to add to the tale. Seeing and hearing you repeat the tale in new ways shows your child that emotional expression is healthy and fun and that even a familiar story can be told in a whole new way.

7. Tell them the same story during repetitive tasks.

When you change or feed your baby, you’ve got the perfect opportunity to repeat words and tell stories. Babies come to associate an activity with a particular story, and it’s a great chance to familiarize them with words they may not overhear when the adults are talking among themselves. You can use a beloved book as the basis for these tales, or invent something entirely new – the words are what matters!

8. Reading to them develops their listening skills.

All parents love the look of rapt attention that comes across a child’s face when they are engrossed in a story. They are totally consumed by the narrative and invested in the characters and plotline. The child absorbs every element of the tale, which is why the content of the book matters so much. Even if a child is too young to understand some of the story’s finer points, they soak it up without judgment. That’s why your choice of material matters as much as the act of reading itself.

9. If you love reading and learning, so will your child.

If parents are voracious readers and engage in lifelong learning, it’s almost guaranteed that their child will, too. Children imitate their parents’ behavior, especially in the early years. If you love curling up with a good book and get excited about the latest release from your favorite author, your child is more likely to develop a similar passion for reading.

Reading and repetition are both excellent ways for you to foster a love of language and narratives in your child.

Reading to them at bedtime is an excellent start, but reading to them several times a day is vital, too. It’s never too early to begin reading to your little one – some mothers do it while their baby is still in the womb! Who can argue with such enthusiasm? Creating curious minds is one of the most important goals of parenthood, so start reading and repeating words to your child as frequently as you can, beginning today!