The Enchanted Hour - The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
Same kind of content with other book praising the "read outloud" habit.
But it's the best I've read so far.
It's both informative and a pleasure to read. It also feels personal.
The soul is contained in the human voice.
—- JORGE LUIS BORGES
Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone. It has to be made, like bread: re-made all the time, made new.
—- URSULA K. LEGUIN
In a culture undergoing what’s been called “the big disconnect,” many of us are grappling with the effects of screens and devices, machines that enhance our lives and at the same time make it harder to concentrate and to retain what we’ve seen and read, and alarmingly easy to be only half present even with the people we love most.
listening to stories while looking at pictures stimulates children’s deep brain networks, fostering their optimal cognitive development. Further, the companionable experience of shared reading cultivates empathy, dramatically accelerates young children’s language acquisition, and vaults them ahead of their peers when they get to school. 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. The evidence has become so overwhelming that social scientists now consider read-aloud time one of the most important indicators of a child’s prospects in life.
Where the screen tends to separate family members by sending each into his own private virtual reality, reading together draws people closer and unites them.
For children, contemplating the illustrations in picture books quietly and at length helps to inculcate the grammar of visual art in a way that really can’t happen when the pictures are animated or morphing or jumping around. Where the infinite jostling possibilities of the touch screen make us feel scatterbrained, a story read aloud engages our minds in deep, sustained attention.
When children are older, novels read aloud give them access to complex language and narratives that might otherwise be beyond them. The experience bathes children of all ages in torrents of words, images, and syntactical rhythms that they might not get anywhere else.
picture books are better than any tech or toy in giving young children what they need to flourish.
Was the time always enchanted? Certainly not. Reading aloud is often a sacrifice and sometimes a nuisance. Even for a zealot, it’s not always easy to find the time or patience. There were nights when I felt half frantic with wanting to get everyone settled, and nights when the books we chose didn’t satisfy any of us.
Chapter 1 - What Reading to Children Does to Their Brains
In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of—
The cow jumping over the moon
And there were three little bears sitting on chairs…
Goodnight Moon has sold what I believe is known in the trade as a gazillion copies.
to spot “the bowl” or “the flames” or “the pair of slippers”. “Can you locate the two timepieces?”. “Who can identify the second moon?”
I had no idea that our game was anything but a bit of fun, but we had, in fact, stumbled unknowing into the foothills of a mountain of pedagogical evidence. It turns out that getting young children to interact with texts, and talking with them about the pictures and stories as you go, hugely intensifies the benefits they get from the time you spend reading together.