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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 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 it’s 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, 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.
Meghan Cox Gurdon is an essayist, book critic, and former foreign correspondent who has been The Wall Street Journal's children's book reviewer since 2005. Her work has appeared widely, in publications such as The Washington Examiner, The Daily Telegraph, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and National Review. A graduate of Bowdoin College, she lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband, Hugo Gurdon, and their five children.