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Reading magic : why reading aloud to our…

Reading magic : why reading aloud to our children will change their lives… (edition 2008)

by Mem Fox

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3471531,518 (4.02)6
Title:Reading magic : why reading aloud to our children will change their lives forever
Authors:Mem Fox
Info:Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, c2008.
Collections:Children's Lit, Your library

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



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A bit soapbox-y, heavy on anecdotes and short on data, but it's good to know that something so simple and obvious (to some, anyway) can help so much.


We can do at least seven things with our voices to keep our listeners engaged. Six of these seven vocal gymnastics are contrasts: loud and soft, fast and slow, and high and low. And we can p-a-u-s-e. The words on the page will tell us which of these to choose. (42)

What we love, our listeners will love....If [children] love the sounds of the words, they'll understand them better when they come to read them later....familiar words...are always easier to read than unfamiliar words. (47)

While phonics is one element in learning to read, the stories-first approach to reading achieves better results than the letters-and-phonics-first approach. Stories-first takes care of the essential attitude problem. Children who have been endlessly entertained by wonderful stories have a joyful attitude toward learning to read. (63)

...reading means the ability to make sense out of the print, not sound out of the print. (85)

If we want our children to learn how to read anything - let alone to read more, or to read more diverse or difficult material - it helps immeasurably if we can give them as much experience of [language/the world] as possible. (88, 104)

Suggested: The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry (for songs and nursery rhymes) (91)

[Reading aloud vs. silently] The slowness of our progress overloads our memory and blocks out meaning. (116)

Astonishing and "soft" though this may seem, we should tell children the words they don't know...We need to hurry them along so their memory isn't overloaded, so they can use all the information they've picked up so far in the story...to get accurate meaning as they read. Anything that slows them down is a bad thing. (121)

Fairy stories require the mind to be attentive to detail, to be highly active in problem solving, to roll through tunnels of prediction and making meaning, and to tumble down hills of emotion and run back up again. (138)

The whole point of books is to allow us to experience troubled realities that are different from our own, to feel the appropriate emotions, to empathize, to make judgments, and to have our interest held. If we sanitize everything children read, how much more shocking and confusing will the real world be when they finally have to face it? (142)

When a child is reading aloud to us with great aplomb and mostly correctly, it's very tempting to comment only when the child slips up and makes a mistake, as if mistakes are all we're listening for. This is very discouraging for young readers...be encouraging instead...[but don't overpraise]. (153)

Pressure and a sense of failure are no help at all to learners. (156)

Phonics is the ability to translate the print on the page into sound. (157)

Learning to read is more about learning language than it is about making sounds from the letters on a page. (163)

The big thing to remember is to read aloud with happiness in mind, not education. We'll get it all wrong if we think only about education. Learning to read comes from the happiness of reading. (178)

191-192 list of "Twenty Books That Children Love," including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Alexander's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Where the Wild Things Are, Where's Spot?, Madeline, Green Eggs and Ham, Are You My Mother?, etc. ( )
  JennyArch | Feb 3, 2014 |
Mem Fox is so positive and cheerful throughout, it seems inconceivable that after reading this book anyone would NOT want to read aloud to their children! I enjoyed her instruction, even in the simplest of ways, about making language musical. ( )
  SylviaSmile | May 21, 2013 |
Mem Fox keeps things simple and that’s exactly what I needed after listening to experts harangue the schools and teachers last week at the International Reading Association conference. Mem Fox says it all comes down to reading aloud. Do that with your children and your students three times a day and it will happen; children will be ready to learn to read. One thousand read-alouds and students will read. ( )
  debnance | May 5, 2013 |
good points ( )
  julierh | Apr 7, 2013 |
Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Your Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. Library section: 8 I: Life Skills, Learning K-12. Mem Fox, a bubbly children’s book author and widely-known literacy expert says, “If parents understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent – and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”
My experience with reading to my own kids bears out Fox’ belief that reading aloud to your children from infancy gives them a huge head start in school and in life, creates intensely strong bonds between parent and child, and offers much joy and laughter. Though we had 30 or so of our kids’ favorite storybooks at home, we took them to the public library from a very early age, bringing home a shopping bagful each time we went. Being read to, and later reading independently, was one of life’s pleasures for them and for us. It still is.
This author says that there are three basic secrets to learning to read. They are “the magic of print” (realizing that print conveys meaning), “the magic of language,” (hearing and understanding speech), and “the magic of general knowledge” (having experiences on outings outside the home.) So to turn your kids into readers, your children need to be read to daily to grasp that print conveys meaning. This comes with the experience of being read to – a lot. Second, your kids need to interactively converse with you – that’s how kids make sense of language and build vocabulary. Constant admonishments and not much else do not a conversation make. Third, your children need you to introduce them to the world around them. For example, a book about fish is nice, but it suddenly becomes exciting when you take your kids to see fish at the pet shop, koi in the local pond, or whales at Seaworld. See the difference? The seed of interest is planted and your kid connects to the world. Suddenly they want to read every book about fish and cetaceans they can find.
As soon as your child is born, begin talking and singing to her, preferably to the rhythm of a rocking chair. When the child can hold her head up to look at the pages (3-4 months) sit her in your lap while you sit in a rocker. Rock to the rhythm of the words you read and the songs you sing. This helps a child learn to listen for the rhythms and rhymes of language. If your child wants you to read the same book over and over, do it. Security is built as a child learns to predict the events in the story, so important for later in life when they must be able to predict the consequences of their actions before they act. By age one, your child will correct you if you kid around and hold the book upside down, begin on the last page instead of the first, or recite the first page of Babar when The Three Bears is open in front of you.
Reading aloud trains your child to listen carefully. If your child does not listen to directions, for example, it could be that you need to read to them more so they learn to listen with sharpness and skill. Kids need print strewn around the house – books, magazines, and newspapers. The daily funnies were a big draw for our pre-school son. Keep scrap paper, pens, pencils and crayons handy; once your kids know that words communicate meaning, they will want to write. Its OK if their “words” are a string of consonants. For a preschooler that’s miraculous!
Take your kids to get their own library card for their second birthday, complete with balloon and ice cream treat afterward. Kids need a bookshelf of their own in their bedroom, a bedside lamp for reading in bed, and cozy spots all over the house where they can curl up with a good book. If the only cozy spot in the house has a TV in it, kids will NOT read there. Kids will read in bed before they go to sleep, but only if you’ve read to them at bedtime since infancy. This author discusses the uses of TV – it can be fine if used judiciously. BUT, the American Association of Pediatrics advises NO TV at all before age two, because mental and physical development during the first two years are so crucially dependent upon real life interaction with humans. Time lost to TV before age 2 can never be made up, and those potential brain synapses never form. Those kids enter school already behind others and teachers can easily spot those kids. TV encourages passivity, exactly the opposite of what a bushy-tailed kid should be. No parent ever crowed to another parent, “Brett’s been put in the top television-watching group. We’re so thrilled!”
On the church library counter you’ll find free book lists to take home. One is just for kids, arranged by age level. For more information about top quality children’s books, go to www.planetesme.com. Esme Raji Codell is a children’s author and librarian who has hundreds of reviews on this site, as well as books for holidays, games and activities about books. Also look for The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease in our church library in section 8 I. It’s a compendium of the best read aloud books available. ( )
  Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Aug 26, 2011 |
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Mem Foxprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156010763, Paperback)

Bestselling author and literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read.

All parents want and expect their children to learn to read, but few realize they can get their kids on the road to reading long before they start school simply by reading aloud to them every day. With passion and humor, acclaimed author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox tells readers how she herself became aware of the astonishing effects that reading aloud and bonding through books have on very young children.

She 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 walks readers through the three secrets of reading which together make reading possible. She gives guidance on defining, choosing, and finding good books and closes with tips on dealing effectively with the challenges that sometimes arise when children are learning to read.

Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a must for every parent-and for anyone interested in how children learn to read.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:45 -0400)

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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 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.… (more)

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