What to do when your toddler says:
“Read it again!”
My 3-year-old LOVES to read (what toddler doesn’t?). The problem is she usually wants to read the same story – over and over and over. Sometimes I just can’t take it! My solution is to go to the library frequently to get new books – I think I’ve been there 4 times this week alone. After I’ve read all of these library books to her (and reread most of them) I’m ready for another library trip (and new books). Luckily, we don’t live very far. Even so, it’s inevitable that I will be rereading her favorites again and again. Here are some things that I do to help me avoid monotony and help her brain grow.
Ask questions about the story.
Even though we’ve already read the story once (or twice or more), I still ask her questions. I might ask questions about what will happen: “The bear found that hat, what will he do next?” Or I’ll ask her to describe the picture or point out something significant in the picture that relates to the story: “They’re looking for the bird – do you see it?”. I might ask what she notices in the picture or what she likes about it.
When I’m reading a story for the millionth time, I’ll have her fill-in-the-blank while I’m reading. I read part of the sentence and pause at the noun (or verb) and let her say it (“The wolf huffed and puffed and blew the _________ down.”) Most of the time she can repeat the entire page word for word to me, but she still enjoys listening to me and filling in the blank.
I specifically like to ask my daughter questions about what she would do if she was one of the characters. This is great for helping her develop problem-solving skills, as well as empathy. I was re-reading a short story the other day and I paused before turning the page and asked her what she would do if she were Dora. My daughter gave her suggestion, which was different from what Dora actually does. We briefly talked about other solutions to the situation before turning the page. I will also sometimes ask her how the characters feel and how she would feel or what she would do if she were one of the characters. This can help her learn to see things from another’s point of view and develop empathy.
Read with special voices
This is a fun one for me! I like to have each character use a different voice while reading the story. For example, the big bear gets a deep, booming voice and the little mouse gets a high, squeaky voice. This keeps it fun for me and for her and helps emphasize the dialogue portions of the story. I’m not as good as Mrs. Doubtfire, but I love spicing up the story for my girl.
I don’t enjoy repetitive reading, even though small children greatly benefit from it. Knowing that it is important and using these simple techniques helps me get through the 10th (100th?) reading of “Is Your Mama a Llama?” Try another reading with special voices and see how it goes. For a list of my toddler’s favorite books (that I find fun to read and re-read) check out my post here. I would love to hear your strategies!