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

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-07-07
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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A new and revisededition!Bestselling children's author and internationally respectedliteracy 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.Shediscusses the three secrets of reading,offers guidance on defining andchoosing good books, and addresses the challenges that can arise. And this new editionboasts 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 parentsand a must-havefor anyone interested in how children learn to read.

Author Biography

MEM FOX is the author of many popular books for children and adults, including Time for Bed, Sleepy Bears, Possum Magic, and Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living. A former professor of literacy education, she lives in Adelaide, South Australia.
JUDY HORACEK is a well-known Australian cartoonist and writer. In addition to writing and illustrating her own books, she creates cartoons that appear regularly in national magazines. She lives in Dickson, Australia.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
The Foot Book Miraclep. 1
The Magic in Actionp. 5
Birth, Brains, and Beyondp. 13
The Powerp. 25
Keep It Regularp. 31
And Do It Like Thisp. 39
Getting the Most Out of Itp. 53
The Proofp. 75
The First Secret of Reading: The Magic of Printp. 79
The Second Secret of Reading: The Magic of Languagep. 87
The Third Secret of Reading: The Magic of General Knowledgep. 103
What Happens When the Three Secrets of Reading Come Together?p. 109
"Book! Book! Book!"p. 125
Television: The Good, the Bad, and the Uglyp. 143
Troubleshootingp. 149
Phokissing on Fonixp. 157
Boys and Readingp. 173
Twenty Books That Children Lovep. 191
Acknowledgmentsp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One The Foot Book Miracle In 1975 our daughter, Chlo, 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 Chlos school the next morning and told her teacher what had happened. "What did you do?" I asked, agog. "What method did you use? Its a miracle!" "I didnt do much," she said. "How could I? Shes 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 careerout of drama into literacy. If reading aloud had had such a powerful impact on my childs 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, Ive 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 livesand explaining why. I speak with the authority of an international literacy consultant and the intensity of a writer, but Im 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 hadnt realized that reading aloud regularly would mean Chlo 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 a

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