Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever

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by Mem Fox, Judy Horacek
     
 

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The must-have guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition

Best-selling children's author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read

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Overview

The must-have guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition

Best-selling children's author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. She discusses the three secrets of reading, offers guidance on defining and choosing good books, and—for this new edition—includes two new chapters on boy readers and phonics, a foreword, and a list of "Twenty Books That Children Love." Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a turn-to classic for educators and parents.

Editorial Reviews

Reading Eagle
I would urge everyone to get a copy and read it. It is, quite simply, excellent.... If you're not a dad, pass this along to one. Encourage fathers or other male role models to read to children and watch the magic happen.

—Kendal Rautzhan

Danville News
I would urge everyone to get a copy and read it. It is, quite simply, excellent.... If you're not a dad, pass this along to one. Encourage fathers or other male role models to read to children and watch the magic happen.

—Kendal Rautzhan

Reading Rockets
"If you're not a dad, pass this along to one. Encourage fathers or other male role models to read to children, and watch the magic happen!"

Reading Eagle - Kendal Rautzhan
"I would urge everyone to get a copy and read it. It is, quite simply, excellent.... If you're not a dad, pass this along to one. Encourage fathers or other male role models to read to children and watch the magic happen."
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR READING MAGIC

 
"In short, vivacious chapters, Fox describes the sheer, rollicking joy of sharing books with babies and pre-schoolers."—The Toronto Star
 
PRAISE FOR MEM FOX

"Fox writes with a light touch, going straight to the heart of preschool concerns with affection and wit."—The New York Times Book Review

 

Publishers Weekly
Two books for adults pay tribute to children's books and to the artists and writers who create them. In Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, bestselling picture book author Mem Fox extols the benefits of reading to preschoolers even newborns and gives suggestions for helping children learn to read by themselves. Line drawings by Judy Horacek inject some levity. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Here is an amazing new book by Mem Fox, an author who has proven herself many times in the children's books she's written and the literacy teaching she's done. Mem Fox, whose parents were Christian missionaries, has declared herself a "missionary for literacy," just like Oprah. Her new book, Reading Magic is subtitled Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. It's a weighty title, but Fox's delivery is so breezy and anecdotal that you hardly notice the theories when they pop up. That's also because she translates these ideas into practical, comforting advice. Fox tells readers that children need to hear a thousand stories read aloud before they read for themselves. Then she notes that three stories a day "deliver us a thousand stories in one year." She suggests "one favorite, one familiar and one new, but," she adds, "reading the same book three times is also fine." Fox describes reading together as a delicious "chocolate" kind of experience. The kind that can't be matched by television because it gives children a chance to talk back. The kind that develops a private family language through shared book experiences. She gives techniques for making reading aloud a dramatic and satisfying event. Fox explains the three magics children need to understand before they can read alone, and she shows how reading aloud unites these three: the magic of print, the magic of language, and the magic of general experience. 2001, Harcourt, $23.00 and $12.00. Ages adult. Reviewer: Susie Wilde<%ISBN%>0151006245
Library Journal
This rah-rah book on the benefits of reading aloud to children does not present many new ideas. People interested in reading aloud are probably already intuitively doing the things recommended here. It is not clear for whom Fox, author of numerous children's books and adult books dealing with literacy, wrote this work. Perhaps for those poor souls who've never been read to and don't know how to begin. Fox offers tips on how to read most effectively, reminding parents that they should always be playful. Comments about reading as it is taught in school and the influence of television are well taken. Unfortunately, she dispenses with the whole word vs. phonics debate in one paragraph. There is no documentation to support any of her assertions regarding how children learn, nor is there a bibliography. A marginal purchase for public libraries. Margaret Cardwell, Christian Brothers Univ., Memphis, TN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Beginning with copious suggestions and ideas for preparing and presenting the scripts, Fredericks then provides directions for staging, using props, delivery, and post presentations. Scripts are presented in five parts and cover the land and early people of North America, the beginnings of a new nation, changes in the 19th century, new directions of the 20th century, and the recent challenges of the 20th and 21st centuries. A list of possible extensions to continue the historical lesson through research and discussion follows each script. Dialogue is simple yet engaging enough for students. Most scripts involve anywhere from 4 to 10 characters. Students should find American history more meaningful through fun and active participation in historical events, becoming major characters of history, and developing the ability to communicate through storytelling via readers theatre.-Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156035101
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
07/07/2008
Edition description:
Second Edition, Updated and Revised
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
149,268
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

MEM FOX is the author of many acclaimed books, including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Time for Bed, and, for adults, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She lives in Adelaide, Australia.

JUDY HORACEK is the creator of the cartoons in Mem Fox's Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She also writes and illustrates books of her own and creates cartoons that are featured regularly in national magazines and newspapers in Australia. She lives in Dickson, Australia.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Foot Book Miracle

In 1975 our daughter, Chloë, came home from school in a state of excitement and said, "I can read!" She was four years old and had been at school for two weeks. We smiled indulgently as parents do when they think their child is cute. Read? She had to be joking.

She ran to her room and came back with The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss, one of her favorites at the time, and read it to us word for word, with expression. We were beside ourselves.

But could she really read? We had read that book to her so many times, we thought she might have memorized it. We hesitated, not wanting to dampen her wild enthusiasm, then bravely opened the book at random to see if she could read a page by itself, without reciting the whole book by rote from the beginning. She read that page, and another page at random, and another.

At the time, I was a college professor teaching drama. I knew nothing about the teaching of reading. In my eyes I was "only" a mother. I rushed to Chloë’s school the next morning and told her teacher what had happened.

"What did you do?" I asked, agog. "What method did you use? It’s a miracle!"

"I didn’t do much," she said. "How could I? She’s only been in my class for two weeks. You must have read to her often before she came to school."

"Of course," I said.

"Well, there you go," said the teacher, as if that were that.

From that moment I became fascinated by the benefits of reading aloud. The seeds were sown for a change in my teaching career—out of drama into literacy. If reading aloud had had such a powerful impact on my child’s life and on her ability to learn to read, I felt I had no business keeping it a secret. I had to spread the word.

Over the last twenty-five years, I’ve learned a great deal more about how children learn to read and write and about the many other positive effects of reading aloud to children. I now travel the world, talking to parents, teachers, librarians, and booksellers, urging everyone I meet to read aloud to the children in their lives—and explaining why. I speak with the authority of an international literacy consultant and the intensity of a writer, but I’m most passionate when I speak as an ordinary mother. Reading aloud to my daughter was a fabulous experience. We bonded through all sorts of marvelous books. We came to know and love each other better through the variety of stories we shared. I hadn’t realized that reading aloud regularly would mean Chloë would learn to read without being taught.

It was enough just to be together.

Text copyright © Mem Fox 2008, 2001

Illustrations copyright © Judy Horacek 2001

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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