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

4.8 9
by Mem Fox, Judy Horacek (Illustrator)
 

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A new and revised edition!

Bestselling 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

Overview

A new and revised edition!

Bestselling 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 how to 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 addresses the challenges that can arise. And this new edition boasts twenty pages of fresh material, including 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 favorite of educators and parents and a must-have for anyone interested in how children learn to read.

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."
bn.com
According to literacy expert Mem Fox, "The first day of school is almost too late for a child to begin to learn to read," because the mental stimulation that will enable a child to learn to read and write should begin well before he or she enters a classroom. The best way to create this stimulation, Fox says, is to read aloud to your child. A delightful exploration of the importance and joy of reading to children, Reading Magic is full of tips and examples that illustrate the educational and emotional benefits for parent and child.
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.
From the Publisher

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

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:
133,061
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

Meet the Author

Mem Fox was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1946. She grew up on a mission in Zimbabwe, went to drama school in London for three years in the mid-sixties, and returned to Australia in 1970, where she continued her studies and then taught drama and literacy for twenty-eight years. In 1996, she took early retirement from her position as Associate Professor of Literacy Studies at Flinders University in order to write and consult full time. She has been a literacy consultant in Australia, the United States, Taiwan, Guam, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania and is well known as the writer of several nonfiction books for adults and many best-selling picture books for children, including Time for Bed and Possum Magic. She and her family live in Adelaide, South Australia.

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4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mem Fox Knows Her Stuff! Her children's books including Whoever You Are, Koala Lou and Tough Boris are memorable and lovable, but in Reading Magic Mem speaks to parents or adults who are around children age 0-7. Mem's main goal is to encourage adults to read aloud to young children as it is enjoyable and has life-long positive results on the child being read to. She advises that it's never too early to read to your child 'or baby'! The book describes how to go about reading aloud to children, secrets of reading, television vs. reading, a little on phonics and includes a book list of read-aloud's for young ones. Reading Magic is an easy read and is void of educational jargon and acronyms. I've already recommended this book to an expecting family member and my dentist with a newborn!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Mem Fox¿s book, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, Fox outlines why reading aloud to kids positively impacts many important aspects of their lives. This book will inspire teachers and parents to adopt read aloud as a daily routine. Fox provides anecdotes that support why reading aloud is perhaps the most important step an adult mentor can make to support a child¿s success in school and in a pursuit of lifelong learning. As an avid reader and passionate literacy educator, I was deeply moved as to the many reasons Fox gives as to why adults should read to children. Chapters of special interest to me were Birth, Brains and Beyond and Boys and Reading. Each of these chapters shaped my new thinking as to the importance of reading aloud to our children from infancy through later childhood years. Fox¿s stories and humor make the book an easy and fun read. I would recommend this book to all teachers, parents, and soon to be parents. You current ideas about read aloud will be transformed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mem Fox has done a wonderful job of helping the reader understand the importance of reading aloud. She describes the act of reading aloud to children as one of the best ways to help children with their academic reading success later in life. She makes a good point for how reading aloud can foster good relationships with families and caregivers. Fox gives the reader insight into how to make the read aloud a wonderful time to share with children. She also gives ways to enhance family relationships through reading, and easy ways to supplement reading at school. She has many good ideas about literature and which books are the best to use in a read-aloud. The two new chapters in the revised edition are helpful to parents and teachers alike. Fox gives her opinion on some education issues that are thought-provoking and insightful. I would recommend reading this book if you are a first-time parent, or a parent looking for ways to help your student in school. It was an enjoyable book as an educator and helped me focus on some areas in my classroom that need help. This is an easy read, written with humor and funny illustrations. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone who has any contact with young learners.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just wanted to say that I found this an amazing book, full of anecdotes and stories, not to mention tips and proof of the importance of reading to children. I actually used this book as a resource for my Senior Project, and have found it both useful and informative. I especially enjoyed hearing her views on the importance of fairy tales and the like. All in all, I definitely suggest this book to anyone wondering if it's really worth the time it takes to read to your children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book and every parent or soon to be parent should read it!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt that the book was an easy read and it wasn't loaded with research data left and right. As an educator, I felt that this book confirmed what I already believed. This book is powerful for parents to read and to understand the impact read aloud time has on their child¿s future. Not only does it emphasize the importance of read aloud, but it discusses key tools and activities to do with the child to engage them and teach them so much before they enter school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book just clarified some excellent points of reading aloud to children since birth. Well written and easy to follow, I couldn't put it down.