One of the most powerful strategies parents can use when teaching their children how to read is simply REREADING the book. Rereading builds fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. Why is rereading such an effective strategy for teaching multiple reading skills? Rereading provides students with a strong scaffold of support. The most essential skill linked to rereading is the ability to listen. Listening is a very important and often overlooked skill in the reading process. Listening helps students learn to focus and concentrate. When we hear extraneous sounds, like a dog barking or a song playing in the grocery store we are not necessarily listening. We just happen to (sometimes) notice sounds in the background as we go about our business. On the other hand, listening is a concerted, conscious effort that requires us to focus specifically on what someone is saying in an effort to understand. When students are just starting to read they are putting together all the “rules” that create a proficient reader and that is hard work! Focusing on meaning, often takes a back seat as students learn to read independently. There is compelling data to support this technique. Rereading helps students develop a deeper understanding of what they have read (Roskos and Newman, The Reading Teacher, April 2014). When students can simply listen to the message as they are reading they can focus exclusively on comprehension. This happens when students develop automaticity. Each time students read the same text they are improving their accuracy, fluency and comprehension. They are able to concentrate more on meaning, and less on the mechanics of how to read. This in turn increases not just their reading ability, but their confidence and motivation as well. Research has also shown that rereading the same text also helps to build fluency when reading new passages. This is not surprising when examining the work of Edward William Dolch, PhD. He discovered that 100 words make up 50% of the words we read! Out of his research the Dolch Word List was created and one way of learning these words is through repeated readings of the same book.
To further increase the effects of rereading, data indicates that the passages should be relatively short, so children can practice multiple times and focus on comprehension as well.
When parents read the same book repeatedly to their child they are providing a strong literacy foundation. It’s the simple things that are often the most effective. Consistency is key. Rereading your child’s favorite books builds vocabulary, print concepts, rhyming ability, sight word knowledge and motivation to read on their own. Most importantly, you are instilling a love of reading and opening up a new world for your child to explore.