Mem Fox is passionately about reading aloud, particularly to very young children and in her book, Reading Magic : how your child can learn to read before school – and other read-aloud miracles (Pan Macmillan, 2001), she provides much evidence to back up the benefits of this practice. While teaching your child to read before they start school might be the motivation for some to read this book, it really isn’t Mem’s prime objective. Rather her objective is to cultivate in children a love for language and stories as well as encouraging the joy of a shared experience in this instance a shared book.

By reading aloud to young children we teach them the significance of the printed word. The letters and words on the page of a book are not irrelevant symbols but they have meaning and purpose. By reading we expose children to a far greater vocabulary then we employ in casual conversation and we expose them to a world that is far wider than the one they experience. She challenges her readers to read 1000 books to their children before they start school (or the same book a 1000 times as it apparently makes little difference). Perhaps a daunting task but not when you consider you have about five years in which to do it.