If you've ever been around early readers, you've probably noticed that many of them love to "read" their favorite books over and over again, essentially reciting the stories from memory. Contrary to what you may think, this is actually an important early step in the reading process. Children learn sounds before they learn the letters that represent those sounds.
"It's counterintuitive to us, as adults, because we associate the letter with the sound, but children learn that in the reverse order," Kimber says. "You know for sure they're beginning to understand and learn words when they read the same or similar words in a different context. [They're beginning to understand] if they can take those skills and transfer them to a different book that they haven't read before."