“Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” (Zig Ziglar)
Think back to when you learned to ride a bike, drive a car or play a new sport. First, you needed to learn the essential skills. Then it was all about practice and more practice until you increased your confidence, improved your speed and became skilled.
The next time your little one asks you to read a book yet again or wants to play the same game over and over, remind yourself that it’s a good thing! It’s good because repetition provides the practice that children need to master new skills. Repetition helps to improve speed, increases confidence, and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children learn.
How ReadingBrightStart.org Promotes Repetition
Repetition in Four Basic Pre-Reading Skills
ReadingBrightStart.org has been designed to foster repetition through novel and creative activities. The website is organized around four basic pre-reading skill areas:
The site provides repeated exposure to these important pre-reading skills, which are necessary before formal reading instruction begins. The site activities provide meaningful interactions, connections and experiences to enhance the development of these pre-reading skills and to build a foundation that will support future reading success. The activities are designed to be repeated again and again.
Repetition Using Multisensory Instruction
Another guiding principle in the development of this website is the use of multisensory instruction. The most effective way for children to learn is to engage the visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile pathways to the brain. This produces a multisensory connection to the concepts and skills being taught and helps children retain new information. In order to learn, children need to:
- See It!
- Hear It!
- Do It!
- Touch It!
The website activities have been designed to target two or more of the senses simultaneously. The suggested materials have been carefully chosen to encourage children to explore and manipulate three dimensional materials. The multisensory approach makes activities fun and engaging so that children will want to repeat them.
Repetition in Reading Books
The recommended book activities are also designed to foster repetition. All recommended books include Before, During, and After Reading suggestions. For example, on the first day, you might introduce a book and read it to your child. After the story (later that day or another day), you might have your child draw pictures about the book or act out the story. Later in the week, you might read a different book by the same author and talk about the differences and similarities. Repetition is the key for any learning.
What does this mean for you and your child?
You can foster repetition for your infant by making everyday activities “teachable moments.” Babies learn so much during daily routines like diapering, feeding and bath time. These are great times to talk with your little one, sing songs and play games.
Try new At-Home Activities from the website or adapt the ones that are favorites of your baby. For example, you might give your baby some everyday items instead of toys. A wooden spoon, a set of plastic bowls or a cardboard paper towel tube can entertain your little one and give her repeated practice in holding, nesting, stacking and many other skills that can only be perfected through repeated practice.
Toddlers really love to repeat actions over and over again. If you begin to get impatient, try to remember that your toddler’s brain connections are being strengthened through this repetition!
When you find an At-Home Activity that your toddler really loves, follow your little one’s lead and let him do it over and over again. You might offer suggestions to add a new twist to the activity. Offer activities that provide a variety of exposure to all four of the pre-reading areas.
Preschoolers are ready for more advanced skills and can benefit from novel practice and repetition. All of the At-Home Activities for preschoolers offer three levels: Basic, Make It Easier and Add Some Challenge. You might start with the basic level of an activity for your child’s age. If he struggles, go to the Make It Easier suggestion. After mastering the basic activity, try the advanced version to Add Some Challenge. If your child really enjoys an activity, let him repeat it multiple times. Repetition is the key to learning.