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Toddler - Week #55

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Week 55: Again, Please!

By Meg Leonard, edHelperBaby

           Your 55-week-old may not have a long attention span, but when it comes to certain books or songs, she might want to hear the same one over and over again. Even though you may not understand the appeal of a certain story, your baby may show a great interest in a particular book. This need for repetition is a sign that learning is taking place. In addition to listening to the same book or song, your baby is using this special time to continue to bond with you. Enjoy the quiet time you get to spend with your baby on your lap. Anyone who spends time with a 55-week-old knows that they don't like to sit still for very long!


Why So Many Repeats?
           Children crave repetition because they are hungry to learn. We learn new skills and information through repetition. Between the ages of 12 and 18 months is a time when babies especially crave repetition. They are quickly learning new things about their world and their budding independence makes them eager to discover the way the world works. Use this time to read short books to your child. After many readings, he may just surprise you and shout out the next word or phrase!


           Note which stories your baby seems to enjoy most of all. Does she ask for these to be repeated? Why do you think this story is a favorite of hers? How do you read this story to her? Do you do any special voices or use special inflections? Record this information about your child's early experiences with reading in her baby book, in a journal, or by using the journaling feature of edHelperBaby. When your child learns to read on her own in a few years, it will be interesting to look back at this early record of your baby and see what type of listener she was at a young age.


Full of Repetition
    Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
       If you are looking for a book or series that contains repetition, then look no further. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? has repetition throughout! An animal is featured on each page and then asked to name another animal that it sees. The first animal replies and the new animal becomes the featured animal on the following page. The book is illustrated by Eric Carle, so it contains many bright colors that will attract your baby's eye. Two other books in the same style, by the same author/illustrator pair are Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?. You can satisfy your baby's need for repetition through these delightful stories.


Real Life with Baby
           Mary has been asking for repetition when we read to her for a few weeks now. One of her favorite books is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. My husband and I try to change our voices for each animal to add some variety to the story. While it is a great book, after reading it four times in a row, the repetition can get to be a little too much! But Mary's eyes remain glued to the pages of the book, as if this is the first time we've read the story to her!

       Since I already know that she loves Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, I decided to try one of the other books in this style and see if it got a similar reaction. I showed her Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? and we began to read it. She studied the pictures closely during the first reading. When we finished, she pointed to the back cover and said "Unh", which is her way of indicating that she wants to hear the book again. We read it a total of four times in about a ten minute span of time. She was as interested in the story during the fourth reading as she was during the first. When we finished the book for the fourth time, she shut the book and pushed it to the floor. I'm not sure why she decided we were done with it. I wish I knew what she was thinking! I'm sure she'll be able to tell me soon enough.

       After Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? was pushed to the floor, I tried Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?. We didn't even read the first page before she pushed this book to the floor. She had had enough of repetition for one night and I didn't push the issue. I will try again another night and see what her reaction is. For now, I'm enjoying our reading time together. Nothing makes her sit still for long right now, other than eating or when we read together. I think the best part of my day is right before her bedtime, when we snuggle up to read some good books (or the same book four times in a row)!


Making Reading Fun
           Maybe after the 50th reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? you find it hard to muster the same enthusiasm when reading as you did during the first. To break the monotony, experiment with different voices as you read. Check to see if your local library has a copy of the story on audio cassette or CD. This can provide you with a little break from being the sole performer in your house.

       If your baby doesn't want to sit still for a story, don't force him. Reading shouldn't be an unpleasant experience, even at 55 weeks of age. You can read while he plays on the floor or walks around the room. Show him the pictures whenever possible. You may be surprised to see him climb on to your lap for some extra snuggle time if you don't force the issue.


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