Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reading the Familiar

I'm not a teacher or a literacy specialist so my latest revelation is probably something that is taken for granted by those of you who are.  But to me, it was a real discovery.  My find - reading a familiar book enhances literacy skills. 

Before my child reached this early-reader stage, I would have thought that reading a book that she has heard read to her dozens, if not hundreds, of times would do nothing to improve her reading.  Many of us have had that moment where we think our toddler can read - after all, she's even turning the pages at the right moment! - until our bubble is burst when we realize that she has "merely" memorized the book. 

But for a child who has some reading skills, reading a familiar book has its place.  It helps the new reader make that connection between the sounds of words and their visual representation.  My daughter also reads with more expression and has a better grasp of the arc of each sentence and the story as a whole when she is already familiar with it.  When the book is new to her, she puzzles out each word individually and then sometimes gets to the end of a sentence confused, particularly if the sentence is complex.  That never happens when I read to her and it doesn't happen when she reads a book she already knows.

So, those of you who ARE experts (or, like me, play one in the blogosphere) - do I have it right or am I fooling myself?


  1. kinderbookswitheverythingJuly 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Teachers love parents like you who read to and with their children without constantly testing them!

  2. @Kinderbooks: Thanks! Although my daughter did say the other day, "Reading is boring when you ask me to do it but fun when you don't ask me." Sigh.