As promised, here are some additional notes from Mem Fox’s book, READING MAGIC.

  • When reading be expressive—have fun! (As I like to say, feel the words.) Voice variations can be loud/soft; fast/slow; high/low; and pause.

  • Playing games with the words/letters in a story is encouraged also sometimes. As is using word magnets on the refrigerator, etc. And scribbling (writing) for the child. This helps him learn to read—associating the symbols with the sounds/words.
  • Mem suggests telling the child an unknown word if it is taking much time for the child to sound the word out—encourage the child to recognize words at sight. While she still acknowledges the need for phonics in reading, the author warns that many children will become discouraged when words are difficult to decipher with only these clues. Too many words in the English language do not follow the norm and must be learned as sight words.
  • Mem also encourages the reading of rhyming books/poems/songs. “Rhymers are readers,” according to Ms. Fox. Studies have shown that students who know 8 nursery rhymes by the time they are four-years-old are usually among the best readers by eight-years-old.
    The use of rhythmic, rhyming, and repetitive readings encourages the child to learn how to SKIM by guessing from clues in the patterns of the reading. This is a great advantage in mastering reading. When Einstein was asked by a mother how to help make her son more intelligent, he told her to read Fairy Tale stories to him.

Following is a list of additional titles on the subject of reading aloud:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Reading with Your Child by Helen Coronato.

Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little One Discover the World of Words by Caroline J. Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez.

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.


If you don’t know by now, I am passionate about instilling a love for reading in children. Apparently Australian author and Literary Studies professor, Mem Fox, and I share the same passion. She is the author of several nonfiction books for adults–as well as many wonderful children’s picture books. I’d like to share some of her insights offered in READING MAGIC: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever.

  • The secret to fostering reading (and the love for literature) is quite simple: reading aloud to children from birth onward. Experts suggest 1,000 stories read aloud before the child begins to read.
  • Only 25% of a child’s brain is developed at birth, but within the first year, a child learns all the sounds in her native language.
  • Passive sounds/words (such as those heard from a television) don’t work as well as conversation to help foster language development. To encourage language and reading skills “for life,” children need to “talk back” to someone.
  • The day a baby is born is the time to start reading aloud to him. Try to have a routine for reading aloud built into the child’s day—but also make books & reading available whenever the opportunity arises. The more a child has access to books, magazines, newspapers, etc. and sees his parents using them the more likely he will become a good reader.

That’s enough reading secrets for today. I’ll share some more tomorrow. But I’d encourage you to visit Mem’s online site as well. Here’s a link to her “Ten Read Aloud Commandments: