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

Meghan Cox Gurdon

Top 10 Best Quotes

“The act of reading together secures people to one another, creating order and connection, as if we were quilt squares tacked together with threads made of stories. That's not just another metaphor, as a team of neuroscientists at Princeton has discovered. Even as reader and listener are enjoying their bouquet of neurochemicals ... their brain activity is synchronizing, creating literal order and connection in a process known as neural coupling.”

“Reading every day with children can't guarantee perfect outcomes for any family—not in grades, not in happiness, not in relationships. But it is as close to a miracle product as we can buy, and it doesn't cost a nickel. As a flawed, fallible person with an imperfect temper, I know that reading every night is not just the nicest thing I've done with my children but represents, without question, the best I have been able to give them as their mother.”

“What we look at determines what we see, and what we see, really see, becomes part of an inner museum of pictures and references, a mental collection that for most of us is not so much curated as acquired in a haphazard way. There is an opportunity with children to show them art and illustration that will furnish their minds with beauty and mystery, symmetry and wonder. The simplest mechanism for this is the selection of picture books that we share with them.”

“Wherever young people are growing up, they deserve to know what went into the making of their world. They have a right to be free to enjoy the richness that history and culture have bequeathed them.”

“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.” - Warsaw ghetto survivor Helen Fagin”

“No child is an island. They come from families. They are the newest braids in that cord of humanity, and it is right and beautiful that they should know something of what their parents and grandparents value, while at the same time having access to the classic works of human imagination that we all own in common. Contemporary culture will take care of itself. It's lively and loud and most children's lives are full of it. When parents read long-beloved classics with them and share stories that convey what we want them to know about the world, we can help them discover powerful narratives and pictures they will never find on PBS Kids or Instagram.”

“Here is a reader, a book, a listener. The sound of the voice exists for a moment and then it vanishes. Like birdsong, it’s gone—it is over. Yet it leaves traces of its passage in the imagination and memory of those who listen. There is incredible power in this fugitive exchange.”

“By setting aside time every day, we can leave the pixelated wilds and rest at least for a little while in a place of unplugged, authentic human connection.”

“Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the eye itself can be coaxed, informed, and persuaded.”

“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. It would be a mistake, though, to relegate reading aloud solely to the realm of childhood.”

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Book Keywords:

reading, education, children, beauty, wonder, stress-relief, nurturing, stories, neuroscience, families, tragedy, art, parenting, classic-literature, picture-books, technology, illustration, inspirational, connection-with-people, culture, history, growing-up, values, humanism

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