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Berenstain Bears Again?
August 1, 2017
We’ve all had those kids in our class, the ones who need a little more time, a little more attention, a little more love. For our founder at Read It Once Again, Rae, that child was Rashad. He wasn’t acting out or withdrawing from the group to get attention, he just wanted her to read to him–the same story–over and over again.
The first few times your student, or your own child, for that matter, wants you to read and reread the same story, you may think it’s sweet, he’s trying to connect with you, or maybe it’s an early sign of a love for reading. It may be all of those things! But it’s also time-consuming, especially when the child insists that you read every single page of a Berenstain Bears book as written. Those books have a lot of words! Whether you’re in a classroom of preschoolers, or just trying to get your child to go to sleep, you may try to rush through those readings or skip pages, but we all know how important it is to be present for young children because these years are so very important.
Did you know that the brain of a three year old is two and half times as active as the brain of a college student? That’s crazy! Right? Every time you thought your preschooler might be smarter than you, you were probably just noticing their active brain!
So Rae was faced with a dilemma. She wanted to incorporate the repeated readings that Rashad wanted while also addressing the needs of the rest of the class, and she wondered what Rashad was really getting out of those repeated readings. The search for answers to those two questions led to the development of the Read it Once Again Curriculum. Because guess what Rae discovered? All young children benefit from multiple readings of the same book. Repetitious reading ensures that the information is retained, information that can serve as the foundation for higher levels of learning.
We know that a language-rich environment is key to the acquisition of expressive and receptive language. We know that we need to talk to young children, and we need to read to young children. But a language-rich environment doesn’t have to mean that we bombard children with five books a day that all contain new vocabulary and concepts. Instead, we believe that repeated readings of the same book will enable our kiddos to really and truly learn what we’re trying to teach them.
I can picture some of your faces right now. You look skeptical. You look like you might be thinking, “My kids are going to be bored.” To that, we say, “Nope. Not if you do it right.” They’ll only be bored if you make it boring. Don’t be boring! Reading to kids is fun! It’s an opportunity to be as creative and silly and theatrical as you want to be. I can tell you that there have been teachers who have had me on the edge of my seat during a reading of The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything, and I have literally read that book a hundred times!
When reading to children, we control the drama, the suspense, and the flair that makes story time not boring. It’s up to us to provide the support, engagement, and enthusiasm to keep those readings fun every time. Read It Once Again can help you do that! We have chosen popular children’s storybooks, which you will use every day for several weeks along with planned activities related to the story that will help you teach language and foundational skills. Our curriculum will guide the way, and we hope that this blog will provide you with even more ideas, encouragement, and support.