If you have ever been around children for extended periods of time, chances are that they will ask you to read stories to them. I have several children in my class (2-3 years old) that have listened to stories for over 45 minutes and still were asking for more! What is it about reading that entertains children so much? Does the text really interest them that much? Do the pictures?
The answer really depends on the age of the child. Infants generally do not fully comprehend the message behind stories. However, they do love the bright, colorful pictures! They love the silly and exaggerated voices that their parents or caregivers make when they read. They also enjoy the undivided attention that they receive when adults read to them.
Toddlers also love books that have bright and fun pictures! However, they tend to love the books that have the more repetitive words and sounds. They like being able to go through the book and say certain words or phrases with you. This is why they also tend to want to read one particular book over and over and over again. It may annoy the adults in their lives to some extent, but it might be helpful to know that it is just their newfound independence shining through. While it may seem like it sometimes, I promise that they are not just doing it to annoy you!
The older preschoolers (3-4 years) tend to also like reading the same books multiple times, but in a more advanced way. They are now able to comprehend the message of books, for the most part. However, the children in this age group enjoy retelling the whole story! They also may enjoy acting out the story, which is one of the reasons having a dramatic play center in your class or home can be so beneficial.
Many children love to read and it is important for the adults in their lives to encourage that. Even if they ask you to read another book for the 50th time, try not to get annoyed. Be happy that they love reading. A fun way to change it up is ask them to read the book to you! You will be surprised just how much your child actually remembers.