Go Ahead and Reread that Book! By Molly Olivo

Boy reading

Photo: Tony Ventouris Photography

Parents often ask, “Why does my child keep rereading this book over and over?” with a hint of anxiety and exasperation. As a parent, it is our instinct to push our kids forward, to test their limits and teach them something new. But rest assured — that rereading has immense value, and your child is right on track to become a lifelong critical reader. 

Rereading a beloved book is incredible for comprehension skills. After you’ve read a book once, it is easier to go back and slow down. That gives you time to spot context clues, absorb the elegant language and notice the literary devices. Any examination of the text, even a quick one, will uncover something you breezed by the first time. 

I cannot stress this enough: comprehension is everything! It doesn’t matter how quickly a child can decode words, if they can’t make sense of the purpose behind them. That’s why all of those early chapter book series are essentially the same book rewritten 20 times. 

Practice makes progress, and building literacy skills is all about practice. If a kid enjoys reading the same book on repeat, they are clearly getting something out of it. Even understanding a slightly different perspective or clarifying the meaning of a new word is still growth. I have reread The Giver many times over the years, and I always find something new, and it always makes me think. 

Books can be a great comfort. During rough times with friends, fights with parents, hormonal swings, or a global pandemic, climbing into the arms of a familiar book can be reassuring. A book you already know can be like your very best friend. You can open it up and just enjoy your time together, with no pressure or expectations. There is infinite value in that security, especially for adolescents.

As a parent, the best thing you can do is to make books available. The old and beloved ones, books you think they will like, even a few books you think they will hate (you never know when your kid will shock you). Don’t worry about the rereading, just make sure they have options when they are ready to explore something new. If a kid likes reading, they will keep doing it, and that is how we create lifelong readers. 

Remember, you can call, email, Facebook message, smoke signal or send a carrier pigeon, and I will gladly give you recommendations!

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