The Beauty of Repeated Readings
I recently had the opportunity to hear one of my favorite literacy experts, Lester Laminack, speak on the topic of reading stories multiple times. Repeated reading is a subject that I have touched upon previously during our discussion of interactive read alouds. However, Dr. Laminack reminded us that repeated readings of books are so much more than just another instructional tool in our teacher toolboxes.
He stated that we have “best friend books.” These books, like best friends, are the ones you turn to time and time again. These books can bring us comfort in times of turmoil due to their dependability. We feel confident reading them, because we already know the conclusion by heart. Students naturally uncover the more complex themes and meanings in books they adore over time since they spend so many hours in these texts!
Lester made an interesting point during his speech. He said that schools and teachers are perhaps doing “something” unknowingly to discourage the re-readings of books. How do we know this? Simple fact: Parents send us students who LOVE to hear the same stories over and over. Schools send back students who do not like to reread.
Think of any toddler you have ever met. If you have read to a young child, you know they request the same books to be reread over and over again, sometimes until you are blue in the face. Something happens when kids enter schools, though, claims Laminack. Kids are suddenly bored by the same old books, or they refuse to reread a book on their own. Are we as educators discouraging repeated readings? Do libraries let students renew the same book multiple times? Do teachers encourage students to “pick a different book on their level” or choose a variety of books to take book tests over? Do we bore students to death with repeated fluency probes? Is the education system subliminally sending the message to our kids that rereading is bad?
This is all food for thought. Make sure you encourage your students to read what they are interested in reading, and advertise Best Friend Books in your classroom, too! You know we all need our BFFs!