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Why reading that same, favourite book at bedtime is doing your preschooler good

October 29, 2015

WHEREISTHEGREENSHEEPDoes your little one ask for the same book over and over again at bedtime? It turns out that re-reading books, and reading at bedtime, have clear benefits for preschoolers.

Last year, Sophie E. Williams and Jessica S. Horst from the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex in the UK undertook a study of forty-eight three-year-olds and found that:

Napping or sleeping after reading boosts toddlers’ word learning and consolidation.

And, reading the same storybook repeatedly helps preschool children learn more words.

While previous studies had already demonstrated the benefits of sleep for older kids and adults, Williams and Horst have now tested this for preschoolers. And their findings back up the results of other studies about re-reading.

They also found that kids enjoyed re-reading books:

‘After all of the stories were read, we asked all children “how much did you enjoy reading all three stories today?”
Over 80% of the children who heard the same story repeatedly answered they liked the shared reading time “a lot,”
compared to only 33% of the children who had spent the same amount of time reading, but heard different stories. This has important educational implications because reading for pleasure is related to vocabulary level in later childhood .’

Another benefit of bedtime reading? The article also refers to studies which show that reading at bedtime can reduce the length of the bedtime routine! So parents can put their feet up and get to reading their own books sooner …

Read the full Williams and Horst article in ‘Frontiers in Psychology’.

Which book does your toddler request over and over again? Please tell us in comments. And if you like this story, please consider sharing it using the social buttons.

For more on reading aloud:

Our article on what happens to kids’ brains when they listen to a story, how picture books can develop vocabulary, and the Number 1 reason kids enjoy being read to

Our article on why it’s important that dads are involved in reading aloud

Our article on truly great reading aloud and storytelling


  1. Vickey Korobili

    We read Goodnight moon at bedtime!

  2. Victoria Hennen

    When my kids were little the eldest loved “Elephant Cat” about a Siamese cat who dreamed of being an elephant but “if ever elephant bath-time came, I’d quickly turn back into a cat again”. It’s a worry I still remember it word for word 20+ years later.
    The middle daughter loved “Bertie the Bat” about a bat in a pet shop that no one would buy so the pet shop owner adopted him. She cried every time I read it and then insist I read it again the next night.
    The youngest loved “Nose, Toes, Antlers, Tail” : Nose, Toes, Antlers, Tail, Hands, Horn Fingernails…

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