Surviving Repetitive Reading

Any parent who faithfully reads bedtime stories to their child knows the pros and cons of repetition. It’s great for kids to hear the same books over and over again, to enjoy the story’s rhythm and cadence. After a number of rereads, my children even memorized various passages of their favorite books. But, since I rarely reread a book, those repeated readings made me antsy.

Here’s how I survived reading repetition:

1.     Quantity. At night, give your child a wide selection of books from which to choose, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll read the same story every night. This strategy is short-lived because your child will eventually zero in on their favorites. So, we move to the next step.

2.     Brevity. On the evenings when I felt too tired to mumble a word or when a book seemed too long, I skipped a page. If this practice is the exception rather than the rule, you’ll discover that after several good readings your child will ask about the deleted parts. Don’t feel too guilty, you’re building their listening skills. Simply make a vow to read every page the next night.

3.     Creativity. Never underestimate humor and ingenuity. When our children bought a new book, I could do a straightforward reading for the first one or two months. After the millionth reading, I tossed in wacky character voices and an occasional dialogue change. Suddenly, The Little Train That Could was whining, “I don’t want to do it! Let me think about it.” Our children, familiar with the story by this time, laughed at the surprising story twists.

Bottom line? You’re unlikely to be a perfect bedtime reader. The good news? That’s not the goal. Consistency is the key. Set aside time to read to your child night after night and you‘re on your way to raising a good student who loves to read. These strategies helped me over the reading repetition hump. What are your comments or strategies for surviving repetitive reading slump?