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Oct 30

[ARCHIVED] The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction (2019)

The original item was published from October 30, 2019 11:57 AM to November 7, 2019 10:39 AM

The Enchanted Hour

The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction (2019)

Meghan Cox Gurdon


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.


Kansas Reads to Preschoolers is an annual state-wide program by the State Library emphasizing the significance of reading to young children. Its goal is that every Kansas child up to five years old is read to during the week of November 10-16. Each year a new book is selected for statewide promotion - this year it is Karen Beaumont's I Like Myself!, which is in Kansas public libraries and will be read aloud to Kansas preschoolers during this week.