Reading together is a chocolate experience.

6 Oct

I ♥ Mem Fox.  Not only for her amazing picture books, including Time For Bed,  Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes, and Wombat Divine, but for the enthusiasm she so obviously has for the power of reading with young children.  Nowhere is this enthusiasm so evident as in her book (for grown-ups) Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever.  When I give presentations to parents about early literacy, I often start by reading an excerpt from this book which I think perfectly illustrates how the simple act of sharing books together will help prepare a child to learn to read.  Fox describes an episode in her daughter Chloe’s life, when Chloe came home from kindergarten one day and declared that she could read (and then proved it, by reading all the way through The Foot Book).  Incredulous, Fox tested her daughter’s ability (and making sure she hadn’t simply memorized the book) by opening to random pages and having Chloe read them.  The next day Fox visited her daughter’s school to speak with the teacher:

“What did you do?” I asked, agog.  “What method did you use? It’s a miracle!”

“I didn’t do much,” she said.  “How could I?  She’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. (Fox, p.2)

It really is as simple as that.  Read to your kids, and someday, your kids will read to you.

Fox, Mem.  Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Kids Will Change Their Lives Forever.  New York: Harcourt, 2001.

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