In our culture today, is reading aloud an ‘obstinate act of love?’ Meghan Cox Gurdon, this week’s guest and author of The Enchanted Hour, believes so.

Meghan is the Wall Street Journal’s children’s book reviewer and says her five kids were a built-in focus group.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • the power of reading books again and again
  • the value of conversations around books
  • is reading aloud real reading?

I also answer a listener question about how to continue reading aloud throughout the summer when schedules are wonky, and share some of my favorite audio books for preschool-age children.

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Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

1:37Reading aloud through the summer
6:47Meet Meghan Cox Gurdon
7:35A rich vocabulary
9:54Interacting with your kids through books
11:31Reading the same books again and again
14:52Dialogic reading
17:56Powerful silence
18:33The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
22:13Is reading aloud cheating? Is it real reading?
26:14Reading with eyes, reading with ears
28:33Problematic books
35:35Let the Kids Speak

Links from this episode:

Quotes to remember:

Maybe that is part of the power of reading aloud, it is an invitation into, ‘Here, come sit next to me, let’s do this together.'” – Sarah Mackenzie

“It really is one of the most consequential, beautiful, and nourishing things we can do. The list of good effects of reading aloud is almost without end.” – Meghan Cox Gurdon

(Download the transcript above for more quotes and pull-outs.)

Books from this episode:

Episode 130
Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

FROM SARAH

Soothing words and charming illustrations have made this Margaret Wise Brown book a classic. Say goodnight with Bunny to the great green room, the light and the red balloon

FROM THE PUBLISHER

In this classic of children's literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn

Based on stories of the author’s grandmother, Caddie loves hunting and pranks, but refuses to be a “lady.” Set in Wisconsin in the late 1800s, Little House fans will love Caddie!

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain

FROM SARAH

A dip into Boston just before the American Revolutionary War, as told from the view of a 14-year-old silversmith. Don't let the length of this one deter you—it's engaging!

FROM THE PUBLISHER

After injuring his hand, a silversmith's apprentice in Boston becomes a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days before the American Revolution.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Owl Moon

Owl Moon

FROM SARAH

Everything Jane Yolen writes has a touch of magic to it, including this simple story about a girl and her father going “owling.” A beautiful tale to warm your winter.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind's close relationship to the natural world.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
Little House on the Prairie (Little House, No 3)

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, No 3)

**Description from Amazon: The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for Kansas. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their little house on the prairie. Soon they are planting and plowin...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

** Description from Amazon: Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hu...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Now We Are Six: A.A. Milne’s Pooh Classics, Volume 4

Now We Are Six: A.A. Milne’s Pooh Classics, Volume 4

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

NARRATED BY: Peter Dennis

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 53 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (Sandpiper Books)

Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (Sandpiper Books)

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

**Description from Amazon: Fritz, a pony excluded from the group of beautiful horses within the walled city, becomes a hero when he rescues the children of the city.

More info →
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Piper

Piper

**Description from Amazon: When Piper the dog's grim new master treats him badly, he is terrified and runs away to the big city where his courage and desire to please makes him a hero and finds him a new, loving home.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Rough Patch

The Rough Patch

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

A Caldecott Honor BookAn ALA Notable BookA breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book that is pitch-perfect for anyone of any age who has experienced any type of loss or disappointment.

More info →
Buy from Bookshop
Buy from Amazon
The Peter Rabbit Collection

The Peter Rabbit Collection

NARRATED BY: Peter Batchelor

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 2 hours, 42 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The House at Pooh Corner: A.A. Milne’s Pooh Classics, Volume 2

The House at Pooh Corner: A.A. Milne’s Pooh Classics, Volume 2

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

NARRATED BY: Peter Dennis

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 3 hours, 12 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Frog and Toad Are Friends

Frog and Toad Are Friends

*Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Arnold Lobel

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 24 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant

The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant

**Description from Amazon: The classic story of literature’s most beloved elephant. After his mother is killed by a hunter, Babar avoids capture by escaping to the city, where he is befriended by the kindly Old Lady. Later, with cousins Celeste and Arthur, he returns to the great forest to be crowned King of the Elephants...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Frog and Toad All Year

Frog and Toad All Year

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Arnold Lobel

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 20 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Frog and Toad Together

Frog and Toad Together

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Arnold Lobel

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 24 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Birchbark House

The Birchbark House

**Description from Amazon: "[In this] story of a young Ojibwa girl, Omakayas, living on an island in Lake Superior around 1847, Louise Erdrich is reversing the narrative perspective used in most children's stories about nineteenth-century Native Americans. Instead of looking out at 'them' as dangers or curiosities, Erdrich, d...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Davina Porter

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 39 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher

The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Rabbit Ears Audio Books are Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Meryl Streep

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 23 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
How the Camel Got His Hump, Also Includes How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin

How the Camel Got His Hump, Also Includes How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Rabbit Ears Audio Books are Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Jack Nicholson

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 23 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

*Rabbit Ears Audio Books are Highly Recommended*

NARRATED BY: Meryl Streep

BEST FOR AGES: 4+

LISTENING LENGTH: 23 min

More info →
Buy from Amazon
The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction

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

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tag: Episode 130

**Description from Amazon: 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, transformin...

More info →
Buy from Amazon
A Kite for Moon

A Kite for Moon

Author:
Series: Episodes, 130
Tags: Episode 130, Episode 131

**Description from Amazon: Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing.What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve h...

More info →
Buy from Amazon

You’ll also enjoy:

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Get the best episodes and reources
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