“The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book and the person reading. It isn’t achieved by the book alone, not by the child alone, nor by the adult who’s reading aloud – it’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.”
Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by popular children’s book author Mem Fox, is an all-time School Literacy and Culture favorite and our third and final recommendation for your summer reading (as summer is, in fact, coming to a close!). First published in 2001, Mem Fox begins her text by detailing her personal path into literacy instruction. She began to believe in the power of reading aloud to children when her own daughter, at four years old, began reading with no other reading instruction than being read to. Mem makes connections between speaking and listening and learning to read in statements such as these:
“Reading aloud to children early in life also rapidly develops their speaking skills. The don’t learn to talk – they can’t learn to talk – unless they’re spoken to, which is why psychologists and speech pathologists tell us we need to have loving, laughing, deep-and-meaningful conversations with our kids long before they turn three. These conversations have also been linked positively to IQ development. The more we talk to our kids, the brighter they’ll be. Read-aloud sessions are perfect times for engaging in these sorts of conversations because the reader and the listener can chat endlessly about the story, the pictures, the words, the values and the ideas.”
Fox also goes into detail about the importance of reading aloud regularly, gives clear and concrete suggestions and strategies to improve read-alouds, and details how to “get the most out of” every reading opportunity with a child. Lastly, Mem shares with her audience the three “secrets” of reading, three “secrets” we couldn’t agree with more.
This book is an easy, fast read. Take it with you on an airplane ride or spend a couple of evenings reading it to get inspired before the next school day. We can promise you this: after reading “Reading Magic” you will have a whole new perspective on the importance of reading aloud to children and we’re willing to bet you won’t let a day in the classroom with your students or at home with your own children go by without a read aloud!
|Authored by Jordan Khadam-Hir, Rice University School Literacy and Culture|