Why is repetition important?


Repetition is important, for learning and saying new words.

When you are learning new words, or teaching your child new words repetition is important. Young children hear basic daily words thousands of times before they say and use them. They learn the different sounds. They learn to discriminate the sounds of words that are similar. They learn what the words mean, and that different words do different things: such as naming objects, naming actions, describing, making contact with others or getting attention.

When a child learns new words, they need to hear the word multiple times. Not just for the sequence of sounds to say the word but to learn the difference between words that sound similar. Words with similar sounds might have a different endings, such as ‘moo’ and ‘moon’, ‘ma’, ‘mum’ and ‘more’, or different beginnings such as ‘ta’ and ‘car’. Children learn that these differences are important to getting their messages across.

Children also learn what words mean and how to use them in sentences. With repetition and experience they refine the meanings. They use more words for things that are similar as their vocabulary grows. Repetition that happens during play and daily activities, provides practice comparing, contrasting, sorting and learning new words. For example: when learning animal names a child call all four legged animals, ‘doggie’ regardless of whether it is a cat or a cow or a horse! Or. They might call all vehicles ‘truck’ until they learn more specific words like ‘car’, ‘train’, and ‘bus’. Using words multiple times in activities can demonstrate the similarities and differences, that helps them learn the meanings.

You can pick a theme that and do a variety of activities that will give opportunities to repeat target words, and to show and contrast the meanings. The picture shows a book, series of puzzles and a game that could be used to develop vocabulary for animal names or attributes. You could add in play dough – making critters, craft – pasting shapes, drawing, or stickers. The different activities provide repetition of some words as well as opportunities to explore differences.