Has this ever happened to you?
You pull a cuddly toddler onto your lap, open a favorite story book, and read to “The End”… And without missing a beat, the toddler says, “AGAIN!”
Then, upon reading the story a second (or even a third) time, the toddler still says, “AGAIN!”
Do you ever wonder why young children say “AGAIN”?
Here’s the reason: repetition is part of their learning process. When young children learn a basic skill, they practice that skill over and over before moving on to the next skill. For example, think of a 10-month old child: she will first balance on her hands and knees and master that skill before moving to her hands and knees to crawl.
Experts tell us that the majority of growth in a child’s brain occurs during the first five years of life. That’s why it’s so important to give young children access to multiple ways to build their language skills.
When it comes to language development, humans learn languages as a series of progressive steps that build upon one another. As babies, their language acquisition begins by listening, first hearing the soothing sounds of their mother, and then their father. As they grow, a child listens to songs, stories, and conversations. This further builds their abilities to acquire language in their toddler years.
So the next time that toddler says “AGAIN!”, take note that you are helping them build a solid foundation for learning for the remainder of their lives.
About the author: Amanda Price is the Chairperson of the Michigan Literacy Commission. She is also a former member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. As a legislator, she chaired the state education committee and authored legislation on improving reading skills in Michigan.