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The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction
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The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 ratings  ·  312 reviews
A Wall Street Journal writer’s 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
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ebook, 304 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Harper
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
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.

I always make the students in my reading class read out loud, but I think this book will add some scholarly depth to that practice.

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Susan
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Subtitled, “The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction,” this is a book, and a subject, which is dear to my heart. I have worked in education all my life, I am a voracious reader, a reading mentor and – like the author – have spent many happy hours reading to my children. As such, this is something of preaching to the converted, but it was still an enjoyable read about the importance of reading aloud, which came from an article the author wrote for the ‘Wall Street Journal’, ...more
Laura
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book arrived in my mailbox this afternoon and I sat down and started reading. I read until I finished the book - it was wonderful!

I read aloud to my children and grandchildren, and sometimes to my husband. This books confirmed my commitment to reading to them, and taught me more than a few facts about the benefits of reading aloud on the listener (and the reader).

Ms. Gurdon also includes excellent lists of books to read aloud.

(And her weekly review of children's books in the Wall Street
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KC
3.5 stars. Although this book may appear to be geared towards parents, it is not. Many can get a great deal of insight, knowledge and especially the fondness of our own memories behind reading or being read to. My average score was due to the fact that the story was somewhat repetitive and at times generalizing but other than that, I enjoyed it. (PS I liked the message of unplugging and promoting togetherness).
Tracy Challis
There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts. To read a book and surrender to a story is to keep our very humanity alive.

This wonderful book is filled with studies, scientific findings, anecdotal stories, quotes, and research about the value and importance of reading aloud. Reading a book aloud creates a shared experience that benefits everyone - children, older adults, stroke patients, shelter dogs, dementia sufferers, and prisoners- just to name a few. I was already sold on reading
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Anita
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have read so far on the topic of reading aloud. Very well thought through chapters, full of research results, personal anecdotes, stories to encourage to read aloud from the womb to the grave. So happy I have found this book!
Madeline
Feb 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Yes-to reading aloud and cool neuroscience! Ugh-to classist generalizations and low-key parent shaming.
steph
I feel like I should start off this review by acknowledging that I am a librarian, formerly a Children's Librarian and that I am 110% pro-reading aloud and I came into this book with that bias firmly planted in my head.

That said I was blown away by the statistics and studies quoted in this book that showed the importance of reading aloud to not only young children, but other adults including parents, spouses and siblings, the elderly, the sick, the hospitalized, the incarcerated and abused
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McKenzie/literarydragon
I remember the first book I read to my husband: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I remember telling him about a book in which a character had once been a star and had given up her star life to save a planet from darkness. And then I asked if I could read that book aloud to him (we had been dating for a few months). He said yes, but I could tell the idea was a bit odd to him, but it was something I had dreamed of sharing with someone for years so he let me. Fast forward eight years and we’ ...more
Kirsty
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Since leaving University, I have had very little reason to read aloud. I felt that Meghan Cox Gurdon's The Enchanted Hour might kindle my interest in starting to do so once again, as it sounded so promising. Whilst I really enjoyed the concept behind the book, I found that it focused far too much on reading aloud to children, and reading together as a family. Whilst I'm sure this will prove useful to many readers, it holds little interest or applicability for me personally. Despite not finishing ...more
Nicole
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Here, let me summarize this book so you don’t have to read it: “Reading aloud is really great. Really, guys. It’s awesome. It’s great for everyone. Your kids. You. Old people. And especially my family. Let me give you some interminable quotes of read-aloud sessions I had with my kids five years ago. Aren’t they adorable? All this could be yours. Just do it.”

Which gets to the heart of the problem: this book should have been categorized as memoir, not nonfiction. In which case I obviously never
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Danielle
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 - I loved the message of this book, but I didn't love reading it. I found many parts dragged on, but maybe that's because I was already a believer. Someone new to the topic might get more out of it.
Christina DeVane
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Another great read about reading! The beginning chapters didn’t flow as well as the later ones. I enjoyed the many different angles this book portrayed for reading aloud- soldiers recording stories when they are deployed, reading to those in hospitals or nursing homes, etc. And another great book list at the back. Getting my own hard copy of this one! ...more
N.N. Light
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oral storytelling has been around since the beginning of time. Reading aloud to children is not only a great bonding experience but has many physical, emotional and mental benefits. In this book by a Wall Street Journal's children's book reviewer and essayist, there’s finally scientific evidence supporting the theory of reading aloud.



Step by step, Meghan Cox Gurdon lays the foundation for reading with our children. It builds vocabulary, cognitive skills and makes both the reader and the
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Jenn Conwell
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up with parents who read to me almost every night and at every age. I have been blessed with wonderful memories to cherish forever by reading everything from Dr. Suess books to the Chronicles of Narnia series with my parents. It’s something I’ve vowed to do for my child. What I really never grasped was the importance of reading aloud to not only children, but people of all ages. This book shares some awesome data on just that. It talks about how reading aloud with family members has ...more
Melissa
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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). Some of the recommendations do seem like they ...more
Susan Morris
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an interesting read, full of examples of the importance of reading aloud! It reinforces my feelings in the library that I mainly do read alouds with classes; they’re getting plenty of technology everywhere else. I want to use some of this information with parents at school. Glad I chanced upon this at Barnes & Noble. (Own)
Jeimy
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book that mixes elements of a memoir with evidence and example about the benefits of reading aloud to children of all ages.
Sarah Bloomberg
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who loves reading, has children in their lives, or is a teacher, should read this book! Wonderful nuggets of information. Absolutely loved this book!
Darcy
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is extremely, as they say, my jam. I am pretty into reading books about reading aloud to children and the benefits thereof, but this is the first one I’ve read that also delves into reading aloud to other adults, the very elderly, and even, in one short section, rescue dogs. In addition to the usual recitation of studies about brain development, vocabulary acquisition, and all that, there are also some really beautiful passages about the intangibles. I devoured this over the course of two ...more
Anne
"...by reading with a child, we are teaching that child to be human."-- Anna Dewdney via this book

I've read a lot of books about books, so I was prepared to be politely underwhelmed. Instead, I loved it. It's a really lovely tone, weaving bits of research with anecdotes from the author's family life and career as the Wall Street Journal children's book reviewer. So many of the stories and programs she shared really moved and inspired me, and I'm so glad I didn't dismiss it out of hand.
Kaethe Douglas
Apr 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I anticipate contention, since the author has already annoyed me on page xi.

"For simplicity, I often use the word parent to describe any given adult who reads to a child and trust that all the aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, teachers, babysitters, and lovely next-door neighbors who read to children will understand that of course I mean them, too.


Show of hands: who else reads this and thinks "wouldn't the word reader be more simple, more clear, and less likely to piss off someone who
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Tricia
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I told myself I wouldn't check out any more library books for myself because I own many unread books, but I couldn't resist this cover and title.
It's refreshing to read about something that I already appreciate and enjoy. Last night I had an epiphany while concluding the book: so often I long for a time where I could just do nothing but read! What if I started lumping bedtime reading with Evie into this magical "do nothing but read" time that I dream of? I enjoy bedtime reading with Evie, but
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Shelley
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meghan Cox Gurdon makes a simple yet profound argument in her book The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction: "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."

I am perhaps not the best judge of the merits of this book's argumentation, as I came to it already a believer. (I suspect most Goodreads users would feel the same.) As a parent, teacher, and
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Ashlee
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this reminder on the beauty and benefits of reading aloud. I read Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook back in Oct 2016 and while I had loved reading to my kids before that, I was inconsistent at best. I made it a priority after that and I don't regret one minute the past 3 years spent reading with my kiddos. I have seen the amazing benefits she talks about with vocabulary and attention span. I have one child that struggles with decoding and the rules of the English language. As a result ...more
Jade Louise
I received my copy of this book for review via Netgalley

Going into The Enchanted Hour, I anticipated the book to be all about the benefits of reading aloud to children, and perhaps a couple of snippets of bookish joys the author has experienced with her own children - and whilst both of those things can be found within The Enchanted Hour, it is also so much more than that. The writer of this book, Meghan Cox Gurdon, talks about the history of reading aloud, helps the reader to understand the
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Heather Erickson
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As an Elementary School Librarian at a Title I school (high poverty rate) I am a witness to both ends of the read aloud spectrum. My first day at work, I made the mistake of asking my students how many of them read with a grown up each night? Two, maybe three raised their hands. I then decided that I may not have control over their evening, but I had control of them being read to while they are with me.
I have noticed kids love hearing favorites every year, they love being tempted with the first
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Ashley
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book seemed like a perfect fit for me. There were gems of precious wisdom scattered throughout. The author referenced Jim Trelease, she included the quote from Einstein that I have as my email signature line, she included a study from IU!!! In the end, it was too much for me. Too much detailed research...I think I got bogged down in it. I ended up skimming over portions of the book. If I owned my own copy, I would have highlighted the best parts so I could share them out at ...more
Alicia
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this book! I feel like I lived so much of this book already: the author is also a mother of five whose youngest is a teenager. She read to her children at least an hour a day as they were growing up. Read-aloud time was also the highlight of motherhood to me! I loved reading about the benefits of reading aloud, experiences from history, recommended titles, etc. This book is perfect for any young parent or future parent to encourage prioritizing read-aloud time. But I also ...more
Becky Stutzman
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Does this children’s librarian’s heart good to read such an excellent testament to the importance of reading aloud to children and people of all ages!
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