Childrearing

Sorry Parents, Reading Your Kids The Same Dr. Seuss Book Over & Over & Over Is Actually Beneficial

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dr. seuss

“Please let me be. Please go away. I am NOT going to get up today!

The alarm can ring. The birds can peep. My bed is warm. My pillow’s deep. Today’s the day I’m going to sleep.”

I cannot tell you the number of times I have read these words. Over and over and over again. So many nights, my daughter and I have ended story time with Dr. Seuss’s, I Am NOT Going To Get Up Today! And so many nights, I tried to convince my daughter to choose a different book, a new one, something that I couldn’t say in my sleep. And surprise, surprise, every time I tried to bury I Am NOT Going To Get Up Today! beneath a pile of other reading material, I was kind of failing at parenthood.

At least, this is what I’ve learned from a new study that says toddlers actually benefit from reading the same three books night after night, instead of being forced to try new things that mom picked up at Barnes & Noble on the way home all the time.

Researchers from the University of Sussex’s WORD Lab checked on how quickly 3-year-olds picked up vocabulary words. They gave the toddlers six words to learn in a week. With the first set of little ones, they were read the same book three times back-to-back. With the second set, they were read a variety of books, all using the vocabulary words the same number of times as the first repetitive book. At the end of the week, the first group had an easier time remembering the vocabulary words they were given.

The findings make sense. Repetition is a tried and true way to help kids learn. Quizzing for vocab is a pretty basic test to pick up and see if the children remember what they’ve been hearing.

Part of me doesn’t necessarily want to admit defeat though. Perhaps other things are gained by switching up our reading routine? Even if my daughter doesn’t retain all of her vocab words at quickly, maybe she’ll appreciate that her mini-library has a huge variety to choose from?

More likely, I just want to make myself feel better. I never thought I could hate Dr. Seuss until the thousandth reading of I Am NOT Going To Get Up Today! rolled around. I kind of begrudge my daughter for ruining my love of Seuss. All that nonsensical rhyming will just never be the same.

(Photo: Amazon)

3 Comments

  1. chickadee

    March 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Blue’s Clues adopted that approach years ago… http://www.cmch.tv/research/fullrecord.asp?id=1773

  2. Justme

    March 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I see Dr. Seuss as a challenge. Can I read One Fish, Two Fish and Fox in Sox without making a mistake? How fast can I read it? It keeps things interesting for me at least.

  3. Daisy

    March 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    This makes sense to me. Before I was even old enough to read (and I learned before age 3), I apparently had my favourite few books memorized. My dad has told me many times how he used to try to subtly skip a page here and there to make storytime go faster, and he always got caught. I just knew something was missing. And I learned to read entire words by sight, rather than sounding out each letter, which I think is definitely a better approach to both reading and spelling in a screwed-up language like English! 😛

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