Repetitive Reading to Toddlers Reaps Big Rewards


This post is part of the PTA Family Reading Challenge Blog Party Challenge series. View the full post on “Learning First Alliance”.

Valentines birthdays 2015 160“One more time.”

These are the most dreaded words when you’re trying to get a rambunctious two year old to go to sleep—and it’s already 10:30 p.m. The big stack of board books had toppled. The Dreamland CD was finishing its last lullaby. Mom needed to do some work before bed.

But my son wouldn’t give it up—he just wanted to read the same books over and over: “Good Night Little Pookie” and the whole series of Sandra Boynton’s board books, “Trains” by Byron Barton, the classic “Big Joe’s Trailer Truck,” and anything about trucks, trains, or transportation.

Eventually, he began memorizing the rhymes and recognizing sight words. We moved on to longer books but I came back to several of his favorites to help him spell and sound out familiar words and phrases. Those late nights eventually paid off. By age 4 he was reading… his preK teacher didn’t believe me until she spelled out a word to another teacher and he announced it to the class. When he entered kindergarten his initial reading assessment score was already higher than the minimum to complete the grade.

As the National PTA kicks off its Family Reading Challenge this summer, consider these statistics:

  • 73 percent of children get ideas from their parents for books to read for fun.
  • The top reason children say they enjoy being read aloud to is that it’s a special time with their parents.
  • Having parents involved in their reading habits is one factor that predicts children ages 12–17 will be frequent readers.

National PTA wants everyone to share their reading stories today as part of the Family Reading Challenge (use #FamiliesRead to promote on social media). The campaign will be taking place through July, visit to get more ideas.

Reading the same book again and again and again may be exhausting, but it’s worth every second. Now, my son is starting “Magic Treehouse” and downloading books on the Kindle–and yes, he still wants Mom to read to him. I won’t complain.

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