MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reading Magic by Mem Fox

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever 
ISBN: 9780156035101
Publisher's Synopsis:
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.

MrsK's Review:
What a confirming, inspiring, and supporting read for every teacher... parent... grandparent... and everyone else involved in helping children to grow into life-long readers.
"To give them confidence, beginning readers need to be able to skim right from the start, which sounds like a contradiction: how can they skim if they can’t read? Rhymes and songs provide many words that are easy to “read” since children know in advance — by the predictable rhyme and rhythm — what the correct word will be at the end of a given sentence. They don’t have to “read-see” it. They can “read-guess” it. They begin to think of themselves as readers — the attitude comes first, and the skills follow."
When I share a book with others, I always say "this is one of my favorite reads."  Every time it is my truth for that moment... for that book... for that author... for each of those within the sound of my voice.  When I am searching for a book to share from my shelves, I always locate the treasured title... and yet there are so many that begin "crying" for me to pick them too.  This is one of those titles.

I first met Mem Fox as a beginning teacher and parent so long ago.  My daughter's summer reading explorations at the local library always included Possum Magic and Time for Bed.  So without question... when I was able to spend an evening with Mem Fox and how I could use her books in my classroom... well you can guess that I was thrilled.  Her stories are delightfully fun, the language is so well crafted that you know the experience will be engaging, and her characters are quite endearing.

After all these years, when I spied a stack of Reading Magic in my principals office I quickly asked, "Could I have one of those?"  As a staff we agreed that through out our next school year we would be revisiting, improving, and discussing our reading methods... strategies... philosophies... favored titles... and classroom tips.  Reading Magic was the first book agreed upon for our first book study.

Why was this book so eagerly valued?  Everyone on our staff has read and shared one of Mem's creations.  We trust her as an author.  We stand in agreement with her about "instilling a life-long love of books" in each of our students.  We can attest to the value and joy in reading-aloud.  Unfortunately, with a heavy heart, we also recognize the frustration parents have with a child who is completely baffled... disengaged... and even terrorized as a beginning reader.

Reading Magic has so many facets of inspirational "tried and true" examples, that I must admit I am at a lost in how to share them in a review such as this.  Too many for this blog space!  Yet, I can tell you that this book will be like opening a treasure chest, you will discover in it the fullness of precious moments.  
Each and every child deserves to have someone in their life that will take this book to heart and begin... 
"their joy of reading."

Amazing support for raising today's readers!
Added to my shelf... shared... bought as gifts... great book discussion tool!

Incidentally, have you read this study that shows how people are able to read and comprehend a paragraph even when all the letters in each word are scrambled, so long as the first and last letters are in place?
 More proof that we skim and guess quite a bit when we are reading.

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