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Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever Paperback – September 4, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Original
  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156010763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156010764
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

An introduction for parents about reading aloud to their children. Fox explains that babies are born learners, discusses the importance of books in the home, and stresses the value of a read-aloud ritual. She also includes a chapter on how to read aloud, which novice readers will find useful. Anecdotal stories are widespread, and "success stories" might intimidate parents whose children do not learn to read by age five, even with mom or dad reading aloud to them. Theories provided do not include reference to supporting research. In the chapter "Birth, Brains, and Beyond," Fox writes that "having deep-and-meaningful conversations with our kids.-[has] also been linked positively to IQ development" without reference to her source for this information. Proponents of phonics-based reading instruction will take issue with the author's "whole stories" approach. There are no age-appropriate reading lists for busy parents, and there is no bibliography for the works cited in the text. Libraries that already own Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin, 1995) or Bernice E. Cullinan's Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read (Scholastic, 1992) will find this new title an additional purchase.

Shauna Yusko, King County Library System, Bellevue, WA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

MEM FOX is the author of many acclaimed books, including 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.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 65 customer reviews
An easy read, the book is filled with details about the why's and how's of reading aloud to children.
Sandra K. Mascio
One thing I do have to say is that Mem Fox makes it seem as though the only answer to learning to read is to be read aloud to as a child.
Nicole Addy
This book is an excellent read and I wish I had it to give to each parent who had children in my classroom.
Richard J. Jensen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Jensen on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read this book and all of the editorial reviews and customer reviews of this book. I have to respectfully disagree with much of what was written. Mem Fox is trying to get parents to understand the unique and positive benefits of reading aloud. I taught kindergarten and first grade for 11 years and believe me, there is a distinct difference in children who have been read to and those who have not. I live in Boca Raton, FL which has a fairly educated population and affluent one at that, and I was astounded by the number of women in my Mommies groups who did not think you should read to kids until they were three or four. So to wonder to whom Mem is writing for is ridiculous. ALL types of parents can benefit from this knowledge. There is sufficient research to suggest the benefits, but parents would not be interested in reading a research- based book. As for her taking on the wholistic vs. phonics debate, it is clear what side the reviewers are on. As a reading/writing specialist, I can assure you, Mem was not discounting phonics at all. She was merely saying that phonics alone will not make someone a good reader. There are two other cueing systems at work when people read and phonics is only a third of the process. I could spew research here but I won't. I believe she was suggesting to not make it the be all and end all of learning to read. I can assure you the children who could read by the end of kindergarten were not using phonics alone in their strategies for reading. And if you want a book with lists of books to read to kids, Jim Trelease has already written that one. Why would she duplicate that?
This book is an excellent read and I wish I had it to give to each parent who had children in my classroom.
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113 of 122 people found the following review helpful By J. Miesen on December 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I respectfully disagree with many people in these reviews who are touting that this book is a glib solution, most especially the citation of the NRP Report!
I am a postgraduate educated Reading Specialist, and can tell you that report was compiled by numerous people who have no education on the subject of reading instruction. Also, that report is misconstrued and in schools allowed to be used as support for phonics worksheets as an isolated way to teach reading.
I don't know about you, but I didn't learn to read totally be being able to identify a picture, and writing the beginning or ending or medial sound on a blank line of a worksheet.
No, I listened. (Do those reviewers know the all too important impact of a child's listening comprehension?) I also looked at the pictures (that's called Context Clues). And I looked at word structure and vocabulary (that's called the Structural Cueing System). I made sense of what I was reading (currently referred to as metacognition).
I now remediate adolescent readers. And let me tell you - direct systematic phonics has failed them! It's because they have not made sense of their reading. What they read doesn't engage them or motivate them.
Think about it - what is your definition of reading? Do you have a scientific montage of words or is it plainly just decoding symbols to decipher meaning from the message? For me, reading is making meaning.
When children are read aloud to (as I do DAILY in my secondary remediation classes), numerous things happen in the brain. Read brain-based learning books. Then tell me how phonics worksheets are THE only and recommended way to learn. When children are read aloud to, the basis for making meaning is created.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By douglassmoss on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a Speech Language Pathologist and Children's Literacy Coach I can attest to the fact that reading to children is a critical element in literacy acquisition. Children must learn the flow of language and the variance and flexibility of words in order to appreciate literature and write well. Reading to children of ALL ages ( yes even middle and high school!) is critical for the development of advanced reading, writing and listening skills. What can be better than creativity and imagination being fostered during a warm, entertaining storytelling session.....with the stories coming from brilliant authors ( like Mem Fox)? I recommend this book to all my parents, my fellow teachers and to my friends. It makes a great book for new parents. It makes a great addition to any one's library who has an interest in children's literature, literacy or storytelling. Thank you Mem Fox for writing such a great book!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I started to read this book over a cup of coffee today. Four cups (decaf!)later I completed the book. I couldn't put it down! I think this book should be given to every new parent! I read the other reviews and agree that reading aloud isn't going to work for every child. But why not try it? Why not make it a priority in your family anyhow? Even if it doesn't make your child a top reader... your child, you, your entire family, will benefit in some way by reading aloud. And it is fun! Both of our kids happen to be excellent readers (they're 10 and 7) and read well above grade level. Is it because we have always read aloud to them? Is it because we have used many of the strategies discussed in the book (even without knowing it at the time)? Who knows. For me, there is nothing like cuddling up in a comfy, warm spot, with a child on each side, reading, talking and laughing about a good book. It doesn't get much better than that!
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