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The Enchanted Hour
The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction | Meghan Cox Gurdon
A Wall Street Journal writers conversation-changing look at how reading aloud makes adults and children smarter, happier, healthier, more successful and more closely attached, even as technology pulls in the other direction. A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice, and a bit of time into complex and powerful fuel for the heart, brain, and imagination. Grounded in the latest neuroscience and behavioral research, and drawing widely from literature, The Enchanted Hour explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But its not just about bedtime stories for little kids: Reading aloud consoles, uplifts and invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of teenagers and adults, too. Meghan Cox Gurdon argues that this ancient practice is a fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomized families and unfulfilling ephemera of the tech era, helping to replenish what our devices are leaching away. For everyone, reading aloud engages the mind in complex narratives; for children, its an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures. Bringing together the latest scientific research, practical tips, and reading recommendations, The Enchanted Hour will both charm and galvanize, inspiring readers to share this invaluable, life-altering tradition with the people they love most.
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Caroline2
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Pickpick

Here, on Litsy, we all know and appreciate the power of reading. It‘s food for the mind and soul. This book backs all that up with science and studies galore. I highly recommend this to anyone pregnant or with young children. Thank you so much for gifting this to me @squirrelbrain 😘

squirrelbrain Glad you enjoyed it! 😘 10mo
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ravenlee
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Pickpick

A lot of this may have been said before (Jim Trelease has said it, among others), but this is a nice balance of research and anecdotes in support of reading aloud - to children (regardless of age), to other adults, just for the pleasure of it. There‘s less of the how-to and much more of the why-to. There are also great book lists at the back (who else is a sucker for a good list?). Recommend, especially for parents of littles.

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ravenlee
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Today‘s library #bookhaul (at least the ones for me; there are 28 more for the voracious book-devouring kiddo elsewhere) - can you tell I‘m on my annual education kick? Plus the #MGBuddyRead and #YABuddyRead picks, which I may or may not actually get to in time for discussions.

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Moony
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Pickpick

An absolutely recommended book!!!! For everyone who loves books! Reading someone is a wonderful gift. Whether child or adult. #reading #nonfiction

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francescareads
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Anecdotal and research-ey.

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youneverarrived
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Pickpick

If I wasn‘t already sold on the idea of reading aloud to children I would be after reading this. It‘s amazing what reading with them does to their brain, vocabulary and social skills. You can tell the author has a genuine love for reading aloud & it‘s benefits. Usually the non-fiction books I read are heavy so this was a lovely change. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you Helen for gifting me this ♥️ & for the postcard 🇫🇷 nice of you to think of me 😘

Tanisha_A Cute postcard 😁 2y
Cathythoughts So lovely 2y
squirrelbrain Glad you liked the book! And I thought the postcard was perfect for you! 😘 2y
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youneverarrived @Tanisha_A it is lovely 🥰 2y
youneverarrived @squirrelbrain so perfect for me 😁😘 2y
IamIamIam 😂 Following you on IG, I've missed so much over here!!! Lol, gotta start scrolling more! 🤗😍 2y
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youneverarrived
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I‘m loving this book! Lots of interesting info and it‘s written in such an accessible/readable way. Reading aloud is powerful stuff!

squirrelbrain Glad you‘re enjoying it! 😘 2y
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youneverarrived
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This book looks so good Helen! Looking forward to reading it (I‘ve already started reading books to Alfie ♥️) thank you so much and the chocolate is lush 😘😘😘

Perfect notebook Caroline. I love the illustrations inside, so pretty 💕 thank you 😘😘😘

And thank you Kay for the card 💛💛💛

I‘ve not been as active on here and with all that‘s going on it‘s much appreciated that you guys thought of me for my birthday ♥️

squirrelbrain Glad you like the book - I *had* to buy it for you when I heard about it. And don‘t worry about being quiet on here - clearly you‘ve got more important things in your life at the moment! How is Alfie doing? I hope you are OK too 😘 2y
squirrelbrain Oh and hope you had a lovely birthday! 2y
Caroline2 I‘m glad you like it. Those first few months are intense so no worries about not being active on here. I used to find it a huge achievement just to get washed and dressed. Or finish a coffee while it was still warm. 😆 2y
Cathythoughts I hope you had a lovely birthday Katie , your first as a mum ❤️❤️❤️ I hope all is settling with Alfie & all goes well for you X 2y
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8little_paws
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Pickpick

Pretty good listen. It's certainly convinced me to read aloud to my son for as long as possible. Interesting stuff about reading aloud to other adults as well. Some of the chapters felt like filler but there's also more research than I expected. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but if the topic interests you I would. But if it doesn't, you'll find this book a bore I suspect. The chapter on reading problematic lit doesn't stick the landing.

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Tamra
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Mehso-so

I‘m glad I borrowed and didn‘t purchase as it isn‘t something I‘ll need to return to repeatedly. Would be good for first time parents or caregivers who haven‘t begun reading to kids - it‘s never too late! The focus is on infants and young children, but serves as a reminder to keep reading as they grow to support emotional bonding.

This book will be preaching to the choir here on Litsy. The power of all reading we understand. 😁

Cathythoughts The choir still lives to hear it 😘 3y
Tamra @Cathythoughts true! 😄 3y
8little_paws I have an infant. I'll look for this book! 3y
Tamra @8little_paws definitely check it out! But, since you are on Litsy, you‘re probably already imparting the gift of reading to your baby. 😊 3y
8little_paws @Tamra i hope to but I don't really know how to read to a child. I have another book from the library that goes into how to. I found this audiobook on hoopla already. It sounds interesting yet not complicated which is just perfect for me to listen to while working. 3y
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Tamra
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I‘m sure this will confirm what I already intuitively know and will reaffirm my commitment to read to or with my kids as long as possible. 😁

ImperfectCJ This sounds like my kind of book! I still read to my kids (age 10.5 and darned near 15) every day. 3y
Leftcoastzen My mom and I reading together are among my happiest memories. 3y
Tamra @ImperfectCJ 👏🏾👏🏾 3y
Tamra @Leftcoastzen absolutely! 3y
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BookishMarginalia
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Check out this article on the power and history of oral storytelling by Meghan Cox Gurdon in Lit Hub: https://lithub.com/rediscovering-the-lost-power-of-reading-aloud/

Scochrane26 Have you been to a storytelling festival? They‘ve been gaining in popularity in my area. There are storytellers that travel all over to different festivals. 3y
Geenie ❤️ 3y
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Come-read-with-me
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Pickpick

I know what book all of my friends who are expecting will be getting as a shower gift! This is an amazing collection of tips and reasons why parents should read to their children at very early ages. Based on empirical research the author breaks down the information into “chewable chunks “for readers from all backgrounds. I cheered at parts, applauded ideas, and danced when Vygotsky was quoted. A must for anyone who reads to children.

Texreader Yay! I love hearing this!! I can vouch for it: 17+ years ago I was reading to my newborn baby girl every night. By the time the kids were toddlers my husband and I spent the evenings reading to them. Eventually we read whole book series to them (Harry Potter, Disney fairies, etc). They both quickly became avid and super advanced readers! It‘s such a beautiful thing to look back on. Precious time with them. 3y
Come-read-with-me @Texreader That sounds like a great way to grow up!! Congrats on being a super star reader to your then babies!!! 😘 3y
Texreader @Come-read-with-me Thanks! I‘d shout it from the mountaintops if I could: read to your kids! I even read to my daughter‘s kindergarten class, too, in case some kids didn‘t have parents who read. Which is why I love your review of this book. 😘 3y
Come-read-with-me @Texreader What an amazing gift you are to all of them!! Good for you! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 3y
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Pam.Kokomo
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Pickpick

Fascinating, and very well written.

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BucklingBookshelves
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I finished my library‘s Summer Reading Challenge! 🎉 Mostly from my shelves! 🎉 I wasn‘t getting to a science museum, so I read an extra ‘book of my choice.‘ 🤷🏼‍♀️

Top to bottom:
📚Essay
📚Book of choice
📚Sci-fi set in space
📚Book of choice 2
📚Historical fiction
📚National Book Award
📚Children‘s book
📚Book-to-movie
📚Published in 2019
📚Folk tale
📚Astronaut biography
📚Graphic novel
📚Audiobook (not shown): Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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MaureenMc
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Pickpick

This book was definitely “preaching to the choir,” as I was already a big proponent of reading aloud, but it was interesting to learn the science behind it.

mabell Very cool model! 😎 3y
MaureenMc @mabell That pose was her own idea. 😊 3y
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frenchhouse_schoolhouse
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The rewards of early reading are astonishingly meaningful; toddlers who have lots of stories read to them turn into children who are more likely to enjoy strong relationships, sharper focus, and greater emotional resilience and self mastery. #parenting #readaloud

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Drocchio03
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Litten parents: saw this at the library and thought it may be of interest!

rretzler This makes me a little sad. I used to read aloud every night to my 2 sons until the older was a freshman in HS. He will be entering his senior year and the younger will be entering HS this fall. I miss reading to them so much! I‘m going to try to bring it back this summer, but I‘m not sure how it will go over. It was wonderful for the 14 years it lasted! 3y
LibrarianJen #Zeek tested at 95th percentile for vocabulary recently. Reading out loud really is super beneficial. Plus it‘s a bonding time. Even if he and Charlotte can‘t sit still or don‘t seem to be paying attention, they are still benefiting from me reading to them. 💖 3y
LibrarianJen @rretzler do it!!!! Even if they moan and groan. Or, have them read out loud to you! 3y
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LibraryLovingMommy
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Pickpick

A must-read for parents! This book is loaded with research without feeling overly-academic. Full of antecdotes and book recommendations. Chapter 9 is a Q&A of how to implement reading aloud in your home TODAY and details the impact of a 3-month reading experiment on a middle-class family.
I dog-eared so many pages as aha! moments hit me while reading.

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BookishShelly
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Pickpick

I loved this book. It‘s a very readable book, with science backing it up, about the importance and benefits of reading out loud. The focus is largely on children, but service members, prison inmates, hospital patients, and nursing home residents are mentioned.

Tamra Did it address audio books? 4y
BookishShelly @Tamra it did a little 4y
52 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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kaykay521
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Pickpick

I figured what better way to read a book about the befits of reading aloud then to have the book read aloud to me! This is an excellent book backed by scientific research, and anecdotal evidence about the benefits of reading aloud. The book focuses on the benefits for children but also delves into the benefits for adults and the benefits for the reader too. I love reading aloud, and the joy it gives , hopefully you will too after reading this.

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ReadingEnvy
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Pickpick

I went into this expecting a lighter read about the love of books and instead found a deep scholarly work examining several topics connected to reading aloud. It spans brain development, bonding, and even looks at some studies of parents who were incarcerated or serving in the military recording themselves reading to their children and how that lessened anxiety.

Reviewsbylola Beautiful cover! 4y
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emtobiasz
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From C.S. Lewis: “He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”

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Peddler410
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Just picked up my copy today and plan to start reading tonight. I‘ve been touting the benefits of reading aloud to older kiddos (9+) for a long time and look forward to sharing some research 😊

Johanna414 I have a book club with 2 different groups of 6th graders who choose to come in during their lunch period so I can read to them twice a week. They love it and it‘s definitely the best part of my work day! 4y
Peddler410 @Johanna414 I wish I had the consistency in my schedule to do that! My lunch period is always changing. 4y
Johanna414 @Peddler410 The really nice thing for me is that I‘m just in the library that period and then I get to take my lunch after they leave. So I don‘t even have to give up my own lunch for it. 4y
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LibraryLovingMommy
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Pg 8

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LibraryLovingMommy
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Pg xv
"Reading out loud is probably the least expensive and most effective intervention we can make for the good of our families, and for the wider culture."

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LibraryLovingMommy
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Pg xiii

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BookishMarginalia
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I love it when @WanderingBookaneer reads aloud to me — Meghan Cox Gordon would understand and approve!

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emtobiasz
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On a related note, my sister sent me some Mo Willems bookmarks and they delight me to no end #kidlit🐘🐖

Mindyrecycles Love kid lit, love the bookmark. ♥️ 4y
RealLifeReading Cute! Love Piggy and Gerald! 4y
BiblioLitten So cute!!🤗 4y
The_Heeler_Booklife I love Piggy and Gerald. My students are obsessed with them. 4y
readordierachel Adorable! 4y
66 likes5 comments
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emtobiasz
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Breakfast and a book here this lazy Sunday morning. I read a lot of these #booksaboutbooks— and lately, ones specifically about reading aloud to children— and so far this doesn‘t have a lot of new information to add. But author Meghan Cox Gurdon does present her facts engagingly and provide recent research to back up her claims, so it‘s a good addition to the field. #librariansoflitsy #raisingreaders

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Becker
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Apparently it is National Read Aloud Day (who knew?), so it seems fitting that I have started this new nonfiction title about the value of reading aloud. So far it has had a few dry spots but they were brief and the message is encouraging.

Peddler410 I knew! It was also my daughter‘s birthday and she was pretty excited to share it with read aloud day. 😊 4y
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WanderingBookaneer
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Owlizabeth I am not in love with the latest Libby update - knowing how many people are waiting for my checkouts is anxiety inducing! 4y
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AlaMich I hadn‘t noticed this. Seems rather rude, if you ask me. 4y
MelissaSue81 @Owlizabeth - I kind of like it. I try to be good about returning my books when I‘m finished, but this is a good reminder. 4y
Prairiegirl_reading Not really a huge fan either. 😕 4y
JamieArc I noticed this today for the first time too, and also had a snarky response. Not a huge fan of Libby changes so far... 4y
JamieArc And actually, it asked me BEFORE I had finished. I still had at least an hour to go! 4y
Becker It does seem a little pushy but I think it is just an attempt to keep hold lists moving. Audio books are extremely expensive for libraries and it is hard to buy multiple copies. Hence the long waiting lists. 4y
iamzoerobinson I can't get Libby where I am, none of the libraries near me are on it 😭 4y
WanderingBookaneer @iamzoerobinson : Do you have Overdrive? 4y
iamzoerobinson @WanderingBookaneer Same as Libby, none of the libraries in my city are on it... 4y
82 likes1 stack add12 comments
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scripturient
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Just got this little treasure chest and this book in the mail. The chest is actually for my son‘s pirate birthday party on Saturday but I‘ll surely be using it as a prop in the future. 😍 The book is about the effects of reading aloud, especially to children, including neuroscientific evidence. Will surely be an interesting read!! ❤️

JennyM That sounds a fascinating read! Enjoy...and enjoy the party, too. 4y
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squirrelbrain
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Interesting article from The Sunday Times magazine reviewing the tagged book that claims that reading aloud helps stress. Apparently it‘s better for us because it‘s more sedate, it‘s proper ‘reading‘ not ‘scrolling‘ or ‘skittering‘ - the literary version of slow breathing. ‘Milkman‘ is recommended as one to try, as is poetry such as Rossetti‘s Goblin Market.

Can‘t link to the article as it‘s behind a paywall, sorry!

What do you all think? 🤔

Oryx Hmm. Not sure - if I'm skimming/scrolling it's because I'm in the zone and not even noticing the words, which is most relaxing for me. To read slowly requires effort, thus more stress? I can see with poetry how it might be good though. 4y
Oryx I gave up on Milkman for the reason I wasn't enjoying the slowness. Couldn't get into the reading zone. But it was beautifully written and poetic, and if I had more free time I might have persevered. 4y
squirrelbrain I struggle to read slowly too - I find it more stressful (like you). Interestingly I read somewhere else recently that Milkman is easier to read if read aloud - I haven‘t tried it either way! @Oryx (edited) 4y
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readordierachel Interesting! I do think poetry is often better read aloud 4y
Reggie When I‘m having trouble focusing, I start to read out loud. And then I‘m back!! 4y
TrishB I can only read poetry out loud, otherwise too slow! 4y
66 likes6 comments
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balletbookworm
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Pickpick

A very accessible book that makes the case for reading aloud to children (mostly children, but a few later chapters do talk about reading to adults) as both a way to give children a boost in school and to provide “together” time for a family. It is much less The Sky Is Falling!/hand-wringy than other recent books about the tech vs paper book divide. Gurdon brings together a lot of research and in person interviews (and some cute family anecdotes).

balletbookworm Some of the recommendations do seem like they apply mainly to families with two caregivers and stable incomes. 4y
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balletbookworm
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For those who think listening to audio books isn‘t “real” reading...I‘ve got some historical evidence for you. #amreading The Enchanted Hour by Meghan Cox Gurdon, out January 2019