Friday, February 26, 2016

Reading Aloud: Magic for Readers and Listeners

Mem Fox’s Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever explains the importance of reading aloud to children to help them develop their own reading skills. She describes some of the benefits:

Children who realize in their first few weeks and months of life that listening to stories is the purest heaven; who understand that books are filled with delights, facts, fun, and food for thought; who fall in love with their parents, and their parents with them, while stories are being shared; and who are read aloud to for ten minutes a day in their first five years, usually learn to read quickly, happily, and easily. And a whole lot of goodness follows for the entire community.
Fox details the simple techniques she recommends for reading aloud to children, the benefits they reap in speaking skills, and the three secrets that help readers get the message.

I have such fond memories of reading with our kids that some of their favorite books are still on my bookshelves today. After all these years, I could probably recite long passages by heart from gems like these:
 Cant You Sleep, Little Bear
Grandfather Twilight 
 The Salamander Room 
Oh, the Places Youll Go  
 John Henry

Reading with our two sons was a magical experience for me, too. Thinking of them, I’m posting a favorite poem from a collection I remember enjoying together, The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems by Mary Ann Hoberman.

I had a little brother
And I brought him to my mother
And I said I want another
Little brother for a change.
But she said don’t be a bother
So I took him to my father...
Read the rest of the poem (and others) on the Poetry Foundation site.

April began this Teaching Authors series with a post about the joys of listening. Bobbi’s contribution focused on imagination. Be sure to check them out, too, if you haven’t yet. Also be sure to Like our Teaching Authors Facebook page.

Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting today’s Poetry Friday Roundup. Enjoy!

JoAnn Early Macken


Linda B said...

I love that poem, "I had a little brother", have had stories told by friends whose own children said something similar like "you can take him back, now"! I lately have the joy of reading so many books to my own grandchildren, and it is a delight. My daughter and I read together well into high school, & I wish all children could have that experience. What a nice post, and the book by Mem Fox sounds very good! Thanks, JoAnn.

Liz Steinglass said...

I love that poem. I once found a video of her reciting it. It's so funny and so true at the same time. Yes, reading picture books with one's children is one of life's greatest pleasures.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Linda, your grandchildren are lucky to have you read to them. I bet they love it, too! Liz, I didn't find a recording of Mary Ann Hoberman reading "Brother," but an interview and several poems are on the Poetry Foundation site here: Enjoy!

Carol Varsalona said...

JoAnn, reading to children is such a delight. Thank you for sharing Mem Fox and a funny poem with us today.This was World Read Aloud Day. So many children benefit from both face to face and virtual author visits. Yes for the power of reading!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I'll have to keep my eyes open for that Mem Fox book, JoAnn. Her books were hard to miss raising young children in Sydney. Thanks for sharing the Hoberman poem too– always a joy to reread!

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Hi, Carol! Yes, World Read Aloud Day is an excellent annual reminder of the benefits of reading aloud.

Michelle, if you email me your mailing address (, I'll send you the book to read next. Pass it on when you're done!

Bobbi Miller said...

What a lovely discussion, and an extraordinary selection of books! Another book that makes for a perfect read aloud is anything by Eric Kimmel!