Saturday, 23 February 2013

Over and over and over again!

I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where you have had to read the same book over and over for days, weeks, or even months. No matter how much you enjoy the book, eventually you may become sick of it, while your child or children are still clamouring for more.
Have you ever asked the child or children concerned what it is that they especially love about the book? The answers may often surprise you!
I once had to read The cat in the hat over and over several times a day for many weeks to a small group of 4 year olds who just couldn’t get enough of it. Luckily Dr Seuss’s rhythmic and rhyming text bounces along in a very comforting way, so is fun to read aloud. As several of the children knew most of it by heart, they also helped me to read the book. But it is quite a long book for some children to sit through, and as the weeks went by some children became unfocused and restless. Interestingly, although they were free to leave, as we were reading in a cosy corner during play times of the day, they always chose to stay. Occasionally I would stop mid way through the book and suggest we finish later, but at least one child would say “No! no! keep reading.” This puzzled me and set me thinking. I wondered if the children just found the rhyme and rhythm comforting, and weren’t really focusing closely on the actual narrative. So I had a brainwave and asked a group of 5 children who were listening to The cat in the hat one day: “What is it that you like best about this book?”
“The clean up machine!” said Chris.
“Yeah, me too,” said Georgie. And the others nodded and agreed. Fascinated by their answers, I made a point of asking every child who I read The cat in the hat with over the next few weeks what they liked best, and nearly every one of them said the same thing.
What books have you had to read over and over? Have you ever found out what it is that makes those particular books such favourites? Please share your read aloud experiences with us.

Here are some picture books I have happily read over and over: 

My all-time favourite picture book 
A book young children never seem to tire of

Any of the Willy books are wonderful to share with children
This book fascinates children with its mysterious ending
This book, like many of Pamela Allen's books, has a great sense of rhythm, and also gets lots of laughs


  1. I'm happy to read any Dr Seuss over and over again. I went through stages of reading The Cat in the Hat and The Lorax every night. They are long though. The only one I don't enjoy as much is the tongue twister one - Fox in Sox!

  2. Green Eggs and Ham is one of my favourites too. As well as being funny (and apparently only 50 words are used, according the the Dr Seuss website, I've found it to be useful as 'bibliotherapy' with some children who don't like eating anything green, i.e. vegetables!

  3. I'm not a Dr Seuss fan, and at some stage got so bored with having to read Green Eggs & Ham again and again to my son that I bought the iPad app! But it's fascinating that my son too about 4 months ago when he was really into Cat in the Hat said exactly the same - that he loves the cleaning machine. He was quite impressed with the machine in the Cat in the Hat play at Opera House too!