Why Repetition Rules

Reading for pleasure Improving Reading Storytime magazine Stories for Kids Fairy tales Henny PennyOur latest Storytime magazine (Issue 19) is out now, and Henny Penny is our plucky, clucky cover star, with art by the wonderful Luke Flowers!

It‚Äôs been a while since we‚Äôve featured a fairy tale with lots of repetition, like Henny Penny. However, there are many out there and there‚Äôs a reason why they‚Äôre so popular with toddlers, preschoolers and reception children ‚Äì and why they’re so key to early language development and improving reading.

Story Studies

According to 2011 and 2013 studies by Sussex University, reading the same story a few times in one night helps children to remember new words and broadens their vocabulary better than exposing them to three different stories in the same night.

But if repeating a story is good for learning new words and improving reading, then surely reading a story packed with repetition is good too?

Repeat After Me…

When you read stories likes this, children quickly pick up on the rhythm of your reading. They soon anticipate when the next bit of repetition is coming, so they can join in with you. While all this is happening, they’re also:

  • Improving their memory,
  • Understanding the order or sequence of events in the story,
  • Predicting what happens next (giving them a glowing sense of pride), and
  • Discovering new words.

At this age, they may be remembering words and sequences rather than reading them, but this is a huge first step in understanding how words sound, as well as feeling curious about how those sounds fit with the words printed on the page. And this curiosity, more often than not, leads to a desire to read independently.

Why Fairy Tales?

Reading fairy tales packed with repetition is great for improving¬†reading ability and confidence. This is because they have simple story lines, playful sounds and dialogue to join in with, fun characters, enough drama to maintain interest, and they‚Äôre easy to remember. They‚Äôre also engaging enough to withstand being repeated over and over again, which ‚Ä쬆let’s face it ‚Ä쬆is a blessing when you’re on the third reading.

All in all, there’s a lot more to “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down” than you realised!

Repetition Improving Reading

So next time your child begs ‚ÄúAgain, again!‚Äù at the end of a story, you know there‚Äôs a positive reason to give in. A little bit of repetition¬†goes a long way in improving reading abilities ‚Äì you can read more about it at the Children’s Literacy Initiative.

Looking for fairy tales with repetition? Here are some we’ve featured in Storytime (you can pick up older issues in our Back Issue Shop):

  • Henny Penny (Storytime, Issue 19)
  • Three Little Pigs (Storytime, Issue 6)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (Storytime, Issue 5)
  • The Gingerbread Man (Storytime, Issue 2)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Storytime, Issue 1)

For more reading tips, see our Pinterest literacy boards and look out for our Tuesday Tips on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hope you all enjoy Henny Penny! Try out some repetition and let us know how it goes ‚Äì we’d love to hear from you.