Children can be read to from the moment they are born, if not earlier. Preferably earlier!
One of my favourite picture book authors and passionate advocate for reading to children is Mem Fox. I own, and have given as gifts, many of her wonderful books. I have attended her seminars and been mesmerised by her reading from her selection of stories. “Read more!” the adults beg. There are no children at these literacy seminars. This time it is a treat for only us: parents and teachers, literacy educators all.
Currently Prince William, Kate and baby Prince George are visiting Australia. I was delighted to hear that they were given a gift of books by Australian authors, including some by Mem Fox. Over the years I have given many of Mem’s books as gifts; and kept just as many for myself!
One that I have given to many new or expectant parents, as I consider it a “must read”, is Mem’s book “Reading Magic – Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever”.
I would love to quote the entire book for you, but it is better you read it for yourself. I will provide you with this quote from the foreword as a taster for the richness to be found inside.
“It stands to reason that if we’re able to raise happier, brighter children by reading aloud to them, the well-being of the entire country will ramp up a notch. 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 stores 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.”
Mem’s website, too, is a treasure trove just waiting to be explored by writers, teachers, parents, children and children-at-heart.
You can listen to Mem read from her selection of books on the Current Read Aloud page. She reads three different books each month. Currently the books are Possum Magic, Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! and Goodnight, Sleep Tight. Be quick to listen to these, though, as they will change at the end of the month. But never mind, there’ll be another three to enjoy next month!
Mem even gives a read-aloud lesson! Now there’s no excuse! As she says,
“. . . let’s get on and change the world, one page at a time.”
Yes, Mem, let’s!
What are your favourite read-aloud books? What did you enjoy as a child? What do you enjoy now?