Saturday, August 24, 2013

Reading Magic by Mem Fox and a Story Reading Trick

Recently some of the books my kids have liked have been some Mem Fox books. It started with the kids loving Where Is The Green Sheep and my wife enjoying reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (it made her cry).

So, I decided I would request every Mem Fox book from the library that they had...and they had a lot.

On my question, I realized one Fox book was not a a kids picture book, but instead a non-fiction book about the importance of reading aloud to children. The book was called Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Thier Lives Forever.

I do read to my kids aloud, and I'm not really likely to read a book on this topic, but I said "sure, why not," requested from the library and when it came in, actually read it cover-to-cover.

It's a quick read, primarily anecdotal and relaxed in it's writing style. And I really enjoyed it. Generally, the book reads more like a motivational speech about why we should read aloud to children, largely with a focus on how reading to kids early can greatly impact their lives. For pre-readers she largely highlights a belief that reading skills are best generated through books as opposed through approaches focused on phonics. This was a methodology and method that I could appreciate.

Again, the general themes of the book is not too complex and more motivational in tone, but if there was a chapter I actually really enjoyed was the sixth chapter of the book which talked about "how to read a kid's book." It taught me/reminded me of one simple trick that has since really improved my kid book reading.

The trick...always...always...always...read the last line of the children's book ridiculously slow. Reading that last line so slow is tremendously satisfying, we're used to slowing the tempo for lines like "and they lived happily ever after." But sometimes I read books to the kids and it seems like they just end and we're all sitting there surprised and feel like we need to read it again. Yet, since be reminded of this simple reading device every story we've read has ended with much more impact and finality.

What a great trick reminder. The book contains some other reminders and tricks about reading to kids, but this one is one I really hadn't thought much about before. Thanks, Mem for the great reminder and for the great books to read to the kids.
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