Repitition on their own terms

Many experts will tell you the importance of repitition for a child learning new things, but few will tell you to leave it on their terms. How many times have we inwardly sighed at yet another request to read a particular story for what seems like the 2437th time?

This is highly important for a child. It is their own scientific process and discovery. Is it the same each and every time? Their brains work and develop as they familiarize themselves with the story or activity, anticipation is heightened, memory is strengthend. New concepts are discovered and learned as, yes, the exact same activity, done for the hundreth time, yields a new observation.

A year or so ago, Emma could not get enough of the movie Finding Nemo. She had it memorized, then dropped her interest. Recently, she because interested in it again, but this time, she is watching other sections of the DVD, different commentaries. Now she can explain, briefly and simplistically, the process of computer animation. She has realized how the people who worked on the film had to practise over and over again, not getting it right the first time. This has been important for her because she has become frustrated with not being able to do some things “right” (in her mind) the first time. Also, as she has grown, her vocabulary skills and understanding of some words has increased.

In other words, a year later she’s getting a whole lot more out of it. Even though it seems like there is no point when she still has the dialogue memorized.

As adults, we frequently watch our favorite movies over and over, read well-loved books, participate in all kinds of repititious and joyful activities. Why not let the kids?

About andrea

City kid turned country wife, obsessive crafter.


  1. My 4-year-old Josiah’s latest craze is the Backyardigans. I think it’s a show on Nick, Jr. We don’t have cable, but my sister recorded a tape full of this show – with some Dora thrown in – for my kids. It’s a great show, but I go to sleep at night with the songs running through my head! That’s why when it’s on you’ll usually find me with my headphones on listening to my MP3 player!

  2. And that’s the best way to learn to read IMO, being read the same books over and over again.


  3. Great entry/reminder. I’m going to share this link with some of my unschooling friends. Thanks.

  4. My husband and I design educational products and used a set of our First Word Picture Cards with our 2 year old daughter and after a week or two she had them all memorized so we put them at the back of the cupboard.

    Six months later they came out but we then used them to promote discussions on colours shapes and themes. her speech began to improve noticeably.

    Now a year and a half after we first used them with her she is using them to learn to spell, and improve her word recognition skills.

    I truly believe that repetition is definately the best way to learn.