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Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever (Harvest Original)


Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever (Harvest Original) Cover




Chapter One

The Foot Book Miracle

In 1975 our daughter, Chloand#235;, 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 Chloand#235;and#8217;s school the next morning and told her teacher what had happened.

"What did you do?" I asked, agog. "What method did you use? Itand#8217;s a miracle!"

"I didnand#8217;t do much," she said. "How could I? Sheand#8217;s 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 careerand#151;out of drama into literacy. If reading aloud had had such a powerful impact on my childand#8217;s 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, Iand#8217;ve 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#151;and explaining why. I speak with the authority of an international literacy consultant and the intensity of a writer, but Iand#8217;m 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 hadnand#8217;t realized that reading aloud regularly would mean Chloand#235; would learn to read without being taught.

It was enough just to be together.


Text copyright and#169; Mem Fox 2008, 2001

Illustrations copyright and#169; 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 at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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jgodlesky, May 23, 2007 (view all comments by jgodlesky)
This is a truly great read for anyone in the field of education, as well as parents with young or school-age children. Fox's ideas and experiences are inspiring and motivational, while her writing is real and accessible. A great resource for teachers in training.
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Product Details

Horacek, Judy
Houghton Mifflin
Horacek, Judy
dy Horacek
Horacek, Judy
Fox, Charles
U. J
Child Development
Children's Literature
Children's Literature - Storytelling
Oral reading
Self-Help : General
Edition Description:
Second Edition, Updated and Revised
Harvest Original
Publication Date:
Black-and-white line art throughout
8 x 5.31 in 9.99 lb

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Performing Arts » Storytelling
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Learning
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever (Harvest Original) New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$28.00 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Harcourt - English 9780151006243 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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, andand#8212;for this new editionand#8212;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.

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