One way people learn new words is through reading books and stories. Little kids love hearing their favorite stories over and over and are also very good at learning new words. We wondered if reading the same stories could be helping preschool kids learn new words. Our research tested if it was better to read the same stories over and over or to read a few different stories. Here, we tell you about three studies that show preschool kids learn more words from reading the same stories over and over. Our research suggests that it is easier to learn new words from stories when you have heard the story before and know what is going to happen.
We know little kids like hearing stories and will ask to hear the same story over and over again. You may have noticed this if you have ever read a story to a younger sibling. Kids learn a lot of things from stories. They can learn about colors, shapes, numbers, relationships, and places—and they can learn new words. You probably learn a lot of new words from reading, too. Kids who hear more stories learn more words than kids who hear fewer stories. Kids who hear lots of stories are also more likely to do better at school. So, we know that hearing stories helps kids learn new words, but could we help kids learn even more?