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Mem Fox's Read-Aloud Techniques

Mem Fox, a well-known Australian children’s book author, writes a lot about the importance of reading with expression. She offers this advice to adults who read aloud to young children:

 

Reading aloud is not enough—you need to read aloud well.

 

As you read the story, remain aware of your body position, eyes, eye contact with the child, vocal variety, and your general facial animation.

 

If you read a story without allowing its emotional value to show through your eyes, you're wasting a prime asset.

 

In choosing a reading voice, don't go too far. Avoid using a cutesy, sugary, patronizing voice. Try to never talk down to children.

 

You can do at least seven things with your voices to keep children engaged during read-alouds. Six of these seven vocal gymnastics are contrasts: loud and soft, fast and slow, and high and low. And you can p-a-u-s-e. The words on the page will tell you which to choose. You don't need speech training.

 

The way you speak your first line should be sensational.

 

If anything is more important than the first line of a story, it's the last.  Drag out the last line - the more slowly you say it, the more satisfied your listeners will be.

 


Source:  Mem Fox. Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. Harcourt, Inc: San Diego, CA. 2001. 

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