According to the February 2011 Frontiers in Psychology article, "Get the story straight: contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooks", children who read the same stories repeatedly are more likely to increase their vocabulary as a result. In the study, 3-year-olds were either read the same story three times or were read three different stories. Each story contained the same novel (made up) words. Children who heard the same story over and over learned the novel words and retained the words over the long term, thus increasing their vocabulary, whereas the kids who were read the three different stories did not.In addition to allowing your kids to choose the same book night after night and reading it to him two or three or four times in a row some days, you can choose books that are written to emphasize repetition.
Children naturally love books and songs that use repetition. Some great books for babies and young children are the Child's Play Classic Books with Holes series of books (available at Amazon.com). Many of these books illustrate popular 'building' stories - stories that start with a concept and add on to it creating lots of repetition and lots of fun!
I bought a book for Jack before he was born and read it to him each night. It was still one of his favourite bedtime books for at least a couple of years after he was born. That book was The Napping House.
The Napping House employs the same cumulative rhyming technique found in the above Classic Books With Holes books.
There is a house,
a napping house,
where everyone is sleeping.
A similar story that my son liked, but that I think might be enjoyed more by little girls, is Emily's House.
Emily lived in a little brick house
With a creaky old door and a little brown mouse.
These are just a few of the options when it comes to books that incorporate repetition. Remember, as much as it numbs our own old and tired brains at times to read the same thing over and over again, it's just what our children need. Plus it makes the little gaffers happy!