'As soon as I began to read, I was filled with that kind of engrossed blossoming that happens somewhere inside of you when you start a really nourishing book.' - Pandora Sykes
A conversation-changing look at the social, familial, neurological, and psychological benefits of reading aloud, especially for parents and children.
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 behavioural research, and drawing widely from literature, The Enchanted Hour explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await children who are read to, whatever their class, nationality or family background.
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, it's 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.
Gurdon, children's book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, combines a consciously old-fashioned, anti-technology perspective with modern, data-driven cognitive arguments to advocate for face-to-face reading with children early and often. Gurdon focuses especially on the value of the picture book to build connection, regulate attention and emotional awareness, transmit cultural values, and give children feelings of mastery through repetition. In trying to cover her subject thoroughly she also discusses the value of reading aloud to \nvulnerable adults, such as hospitalized seniors Gurdon sometimes contradicts her own points. For instance, she posits recordings as being of lesser value for not being interactive, but also that parents recording books for their children shows the value of reading aloud; similarly, that classics should not be retired for their prejudices and outdated messages, but also that home readers should modify what they read at will for their audience. This completism, combined with Gurdon's choice not to explain, until the end of her book, how to create an "enchanted hour" of reading aloud, may lead to readers losing interest partway, leaving them with the feeling she is still trying to convince long after they are ready to take action.