Introduction: Reading Magic by Mem Fox
Have you ever discovered a book that turned out to be a hidden gem? A few weeks ago, I saw a friend with the book, Reading Magic by Mem Fox. Based on the book title, I wondered what it could be about. I decided to read the back of the book, then I started to read to read the book. Anyone with children need to buy a few copies – keep one for yourself and give away the others as gifts. This book is worth the time and financial investment.
It occurred to me that not everyone thinks about reading books to their children. Some do it and others don’t. Those who don’t read to their children may be feeling too tired and overworked, or may not see the importance of doing so, or don’t for some other reading. Those who regularly read books to their children may very well understand the benefits of reading to them. But what they may not know is that there is a special way to read to captivate and engage the children.
Have you read?
A Journey into Kids’ Reading Books
Important Life Lessons from Children’s Books
Book People Research Discovers One in Five UK Parents do not Spend any Time Reading with Their Primary School Age Children
What is Reading Magic by Mem Fox About?
In Reading Magic by Mem Fox, she explains to the reader how to read so that you engage the child. It is dramatic reading. Fox demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. Expressive reading is reading that is remembered. Children cannot help but get into the story, wanting to know what comes next. When you read to a child every day for at least 15 minutes, with the child looking at the page, this simple act, helps her to learn to read faster. This is a better way for the child to learn to read, instead of by phonics, where she or he is sounding out the letters in the words.
Mem Fox explained that people often mix up phonics and phonetics. Learning words by sounding out letters when learning to read becomes very problematic, since some letters have a different sound, depending on the word.
“Phonics is the method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic values of letters, groups of letters, syllables, etc. Thus, it’s concentrating on written language, and how to translate written language into speech.
Phonetics is the study and classification of spoken sounds in languages.” Source: https://www.englishforums.com/English/DifferenceBetweenPhonics-Phonetics/gwgdp/post.htm
You don’t know what you don’t know. While I was reading the book, Reading Magic, and Mem Fox was talking about bringing the story to life, I was thinking that it would be so appropriate to point out certain images in the book to the child as you are reading to them. Pointing out things in the story is a definite no-no, children can figure out things for themselves. If the child needs any help, she will ask for it. Children – and people – learn better when they discover things for themselves.
Another benefit of reading with your child was surprising to me, but when I thought about it, it made perfect sense. Children behave better because they are accustomed to sitting down and listening to a story, so they do not get antsy and misbehave. Reading with your children is a way for them to learn about the world from the pages of a book. Those who read this blog regularly know that I promote reading the world. And there are many diverse books for children to read that will teach them about other cultures. What I liked about Reading Magic by Mem Fox, is that she provides a list of books for you to read with your children. I will also add another list of books that more diverse.
Reading Comprises Three Secrets
- Understanding print.
- Understanding language.
- Understanding how the world works.
I found information in Reading Magic that would apply to everyone. And it is something that I have seen in speed reading course. The faster you read, the better you understand the text. When you read too slowly, by the time you get to the end of the paragraph, because you have taken so long to read, you tend to forget what you read. When you read through the text faster, you do not have time to forget what you previously read.
[Further Reading: Putting down your phone or tablet can help your child at school]
Recommended Book List in Reading Magic
Stone Fox, John Reynolds Gardiner & Greg Hargreaves
The Beast of Monsieur Racine, Tomi Unngerer
The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry, Louis Untermeyer
Who Sank the Boat, Pamela Allen
Owl Babies, Martin Waddell
Hairy Maclary Donaldson’s Dairy, Lynley Dodd
Rascal the Dragon, Paul Jennings
Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans
Wombat Stew, Marcia K. Vaughan
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book, Rod Campbell
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen
Rosie’s Walk, Pat Hutchins
The Elephant and the Bad Baby, Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst
I Went Walking, Sue Machin
Each Peach Pear Plum, Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, Bill Martin
Green Eggs and Ham, Dr Seuss
Are You My Mother, PD Eastman
Where to Find a List of Diverse Books
Final Thoughts: Reading Magic by Mem Fox
I enjoyed Reading Magic by Mem Fox and I recommend the book for teachers and parents of preschool kids. After reading the book, I told my friend who I borrowed the book from that she had to read it.
Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives ForeverTen Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes padded board bookWhoever You Are (Reading Rainbow Books)Time for BedKoala LouTough BorisHattie and the FoxThe Magic HatHello Baby! (Classic Board Books)Sleepy Bears