Although you may become bored with reading the same bedtime story to your child every night, research shows that repetition is actually helping your toddler learn new words. The findings suggest that parents are wasting time and money purchasing elaborate book collections and DVD series that will teach their children how to expand their vocabulary. Instead, a small collection of classic children’s books will achieve more success than the pricey new gadgets and collections that are on the market.
The study was conducted by Dr. Jessica Horst of the Univ. of Sussex’s WORD Lab. Its intent was to check how quickly three-year-olds could recognize and recall six words. The study found that the children involved in the study who heard the same story over and over again, learned 3.6 of the new words. Children who were exposed to a variety of stories remembered only 2.6 new words. The researchers also noted that the children who experienced repetition learned at a faster rate than those who participated in a varied learning pattern. The findings back previous research by Dr. Horst that pointed to the benefits of familiarity.
“In the original study, we found that children who hear the same stories again and again learn words better than the kids who get the different stories,” Dr. Horst told the Independent on Sunday. “In the follow-up study I looked at how this worked over time. We have seen the same effect – that kids actually learn better when the information that they are not even trying to learn is repeated.” Dr. Horst is already using the findings of her own research on her 19-month article. “I read the same books to him. Sometimes, every single day he wants the same books,” she said. “We are showing that less is more, to a point. Obviously, the more times you read to a child and the more books you have will help them.”
One in three parents don’t read to their children before putting them to bed at night; yet, 30 minutes of one-on-one literacy sessions can improve reading age by nearly two years in less than five months.
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.