The Benefits of Reading a Book Again . . . and Again . . . and AGAIN

Posted by Kimberly Colon on 5/24/2018

What is the point of reading a book again?  You've already read it.  You know what happens.  You know how it ends.  You know all the words.  There's no point in rereading a book. Rereading is BORING.

I hear this a lot from both children and adults, but I am here to tell you that a LOT can be gained from rereading a book . . . and rereading it again!  Here are some reasons why I have children reread books.

  1. Increased word recognition & vocabulary - Isn't it frustrating when your child reads a word perfectly on page 4, but when they see the exact same word on page 8, they can't read it or say the wrong word?  Rereading the book will help them recognize more words as they see them repeatedly from page to page and from book to book.  Go back and reread a sentence. Say, "Hey, there's that same word!  What did you say on this page?"  Make those connections and the more they reread, the more they will recognize those words as they see them again in that book and in other books.  Repeated readings will also help their oral vocabulary. Vocabulary is learned through repetition.  The more they use the word, the more it will stick in their heads for future use.
  2. Improve fluency - We tell students that "fluency" means how a reader can read and sound the way they talk.  Technically, fluency refers to their reading rate, phrasing, and expression.  As students move up into second grade and higher, we will be putting more emphasis on oral reading fluency.  In kindergarten and first grade, we put the emphasis on reading the words first.  Children are still trying to apply reading and decoding strategies to figure out words they don't know.  They are choppy and robotic when they read and that is OKAY!  Their brains are using all their energy on figuring out how to read the words.  Their brains are NOT thinking about how fast they are reading or how to make it sound fluent.  And this is OKAY.  After they read the book the first time, let's reread it again and again.  When they know all the words in the book, they can practice reading fluently.
  3. Preparation for future grades - Starting in second and third grade, the children will be engaged in an activity called "close reading" across all the subject areas.  Close reading is the act of repeated readings through a specific lens or focus.  For example, a third grader may read an article about Flag Day.  First, they will read the article just to get the gist.  Second, they may reread the article to focus on certain vocabulary words that are new to them and use context clues to determine meaning.  Third, they may reread the article to highlight text evidence that supports an idea.  The act of rereading a text is a skill for success in later years.
  4. A major boost in confidence - Learning to read is very difficult.  They will stumble over words.  They will get frustrated.  They won't want to read.  Then they pick up that book again, sometimes begrudgingly.  This time, though, it's a little easier to read.  The words are easier (thanks to increased word recognition).  Their fluency is better.  Then you hear, "Hey, I can read this!"  "This book is easy now!"  "I'm a good reader."  I hear this all the time from nearly all of my students.  Rereading books makes them feel better about themselves.
  5. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF READING - What is the point of reading?  To gain meaning, of course!  Meaning of a story, gaining new information, learning something.  Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading.  I mentioned earlier that when a child is learning to read, their brains are focused on the decoding part of reading.  There is no room in their brains to focus on what the story is actually telling them.  They aren't making any meaning.  Reading the book again, after they have figured out the words, will open up "space" in their brains to now make meaning of those words and sentences.

Does your child have a favorite book that they love to read over and over again?  When I was little, before I learned to read, I loved my Disney Cinderella book.  My parents had to read that book over and over again.  I am sure they were sick of that book.  But, this act of rereading is one of the ways my parents instilled my love of reading.  Let's all work together to get the children loving reading!


Happy reading!