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Years ago I had the pleasure of reading Mem Fox’s book Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever I recently came across a website featuring a speech she made, and it inspired me to read it again. This short book is very encouraging, and I took many notes which I will share here.
“The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading… It’s the relationship winding between all three, bringing them together in easy harmony.”
Experts say children need to hear 1,000 stories read aloud before they begin to learn to read for themselves. We should read a minimum of 3 stories a day: one favorite, one familiar and one new.
Because words are essential in building the thought connections in the brain, the more
language a child experiences – through books and through conversation with other, not passively from television – the more advantaged socially, educationally, and in every way that child will be for the rest of his or her life. Conversely, the fewer words a child experiences, learns and uses before school, the more stunted that child’s brain will be.
Getting the Most Out of It
When reading we can enrich the experience and add value by playing games with the books with the books we are reading. Entertainment is the teacher. Subtlety is the key. The best games are made up on the spot.
Favorite books cannot be read aloud too often. Repetition and seeing the text helps children learn to read and become familiar with the text.
You can point out words that are the same in the book and have the children find them. Games with books always begin with a whole story that becomes familiar. The best method to learn to read is stories-to-words-to-letters method. The stories-first approach teaches kids to read with a joyful attitude toward learning to read.
Trying to write is one of the fastest ways children teach themselves to read. Surprisingly, most children think they can write, but they don’t thing they can read. Memorizing books and “reading” them is a huge step in learning to read.
Nursery rhymes and songs help children learn language, making them better readers. The words in their head begin to drift into their daily speech, and all at once we have an articulate child.
Stay away from school readers. They are terrible because they don’t use book language and they extremely boring.
There are 3 keys to learning to read. You must know print, know the language of books and have general knowledge. Reading aloud to children provides lots of general knowledge, which makes learning to read easier.
Good readers skim over familiar words. Beginning readers need to be able to skim to gain confidence in their reading. This can be accomplished with rhymes and songs with lots of words that are easy to read and that a child may know in advance. Setting children up to succeed makes them think of themselves as readers. Repetitive stories give them instant
“skimming” success and build their confidence.
The faster we the better we retain in our memory what we have read so far helping us figure out what’s to come.
Slow reading leads to forgetting what we have already read. Poor readers need to be read to more often and asked what they’ve understood, rather than having them read aloud. Giving kids lists of words doesn’t make sense either, because many words are figured out in the context if a sentence or story.
Good readers rarely sound words out. Instead they use their general knowledge and what they know about language to help them get the word right. Good readers use the three secrets of
simultaneously, rapidly, and efficiently, whereas poor readers use only phonics and even that they use slowly. Sounding out words is boring and frustrating – possible making them worse readers.
The goal of learning to read is to read and enjoy reading, therefore, we should tell children the words they don’t know so they can continue reading the story.
It is better to read marvelous literature aloud to struggling readers than asking them to read aloud to us. The more a child hears a story, the easier it will be for the child to read it.
Kids need to be around books and readers to be interested in reading. Do not discount the importance of fairy tales. Fairy tales require an attentive mind. Their lack of pictures causes children to use their imaginations more.
Einstein was once asked by a mother what she could do to make her son more intelligent. He replied, “Read him fairy stories.” To which she asked, “And then what?” To which Einstein replied, “Read him some more.”
Well that wraps up the notes I took on Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. It is a short and fast enjoyable read. There are many great points in it. I hope you got some good tips here.
To find out more about teaching your child to read, visit www.monkisee.com.