REVIEW: Reading Magic by Mem Fox

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars, Genre: Non-fiction, Pages: 156, Level: Intermediate

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

“A new and revised edition!

Bestselling 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 how to 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 addresses the challenges that can arise. And this new edition boasts twenty pages of fresh material, including 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 favorite of educators and parents and a must-have for anyone interested in how children learn to read.”

Many friends comment to me about how difficult it is to get their kids to read. One solution- read aloud with them.

Reading Magic explains the importance of reading aloud to your children and how to read aloud. Here is just a sample of the many great points she makes:

Reading aloud and talking about what we’re reading sharpens children’s brains. It helps develop their ability to concentrate at length, to solve problems logically, and to express themselves more easily and clearly.

So while read-aloud sessions can happen at any time, they must happen at bedtime.

The more we know about life, the universe, and everything, the easier it is to read.

That last one is a great quote because ‘life, the universe, and everything’ comes from Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of my all-time favorite books, at least that’s where I think she got it from. It could be a coincidence.

The only criticism I have of Reading Magic is it seems to focus on reading to your children from a young age, and I don’t disagree with this. Indeed I read to my children while they were still in the womb. However, please do not take this to mean that it is ever too late to begin reading aloud to your children. Reading aloud is never a bad thing. Heck, sometimes I do it when I am all by myself. No that’s not weird. Really. Back to the point, many of Mem Fox’s recommendations will be effective at any age.

Read the book. Then pass it on to a family member or friend. It’s short and well written. It has great real life stories in it and some cute cartoons. It also references other books, one of which I already own and another I just purchased as a result of re-reading Reading Magic.

In conclusion:

Too many homes have no books in them. How can books become attractive if there aren’t any lying around to flick through or to become absorbed in?

This is exactly why I buy so many books! Okay, it’s not really  the reason, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Reviewed by Christina

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