It’s a common scenario – your toddler is asking you to read him the same book for the nth time. You would probably think that reading the same bedtime story to him over and over sort of limits his learning potential, but studies show that repetition is actually good for your little one.
Dr. Jessica Horst, a psychologist from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, led a team of researchers to find out how the minds of toddlers work insofar as absorbing new ideas go. In the study, they introduced a new made-up word to a group of three-year-olds who were exposed to this word repeatedly using different stories over a period of one week. To the other group of toddlers, they only mentioned the made-up word once. By the end of the week, the first group had a better grasp of the made-up word than the other.
Dr. Horst concludes, “This research suggests that it’s not the number of books, but the repetition of each book that leads to greater learning.” She believes that small children, when given new information, are only able to grasp bits and pieces at a time, so by repetition they are able to process new facets of the same information.
She therefore suggests that, rather than exposing kids to a variety of books, it would be more beneficial to stick to one and aim for mastery before moving on to another.