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August G…uest #7: Children – Teaching, Reading, Storytelling, and More

By: | August 15, 2017 | Tags: , , | 120 comments

Jennie Meet Jennie @ A Teacher’s Reflections
Thank you, Esmé, for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog.  First, let me introduce myself.  I am Jennie, a long time preschool teacher, 30+ years is definitely a long time, and… well, that’s what I want to talk about.

My first day of teaching was filled with fear (of course).  My co-teacher had a plan, I was to read books to the children every day.  I had not been read to as a child, except for The Five Chinese Brothers from my grandmother.  This was the one and only book, and to this day I remember it vividly.  That first day my co-teacher handed me Swimmy by Leo  Lionni.  It was magical for me, and for the children.  It was a taste of something I knew I had to have.  And, I couldn’t get enough.
Jennie Fitzkee2
I consumed children’s books over the next few decades.  The more I read aloud, the more children wanted to hear stories, and be read to.  I had plenty of books in the classroom for children to touch, feel, hold, and turn the pages.  Questions and interest exploded.  I was the yeast in the dough, or perhaps the children were the yeast.  I kept a dictionary nearby to look up new words.  That was fun!
I became picky about books.  I just couldn’t bear reading aloud poor literature.  Thank goodness, as outstanding books are a golden key to open the mind, and spark so many questions.  I pushed the button, opened the envelope.  All I had to do was stop. Give a worried look.  Say , “Oh, dear.”  Forty minutes later we would be discussing how Rapunzel’s tower was built, or if it was fair that Jack’s mother threw the magic beans out the window.
I was doing more than reading.  I was throwing out a lifeline, a learning line, and it worked.
Jennie Fitzkee6
Conversations spilled over into lunchtime.  One day I spontaneously told a story that happened in my childhood, about The Peanut Man who came to school once a year. Then I told another story about being afraid of bats, then another one about a raccoon in my house… and so on.  They became “Jennie Stories”, and were begged for every day.
Lightbulb moment – I didn’t always need books with pictures.  Storytelling allowed the children to “make the pictures in their head”.  Oh, they did!  I decided to read aloud a chapter book, just before rest time.  Charlotte’s Web instantly became a favorite.  Children listened, remembered, asked questions.  They were part of the story.  Chapter reading was not something that preschool teachers did.  Well, I did because I had gone from picture books to storytelling, and the children couldn’t get enough.  How wonderful!
The day that Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, visited my classroom to see the teacher that reads aloud, and reads chapter books to preschoolers, was terrific. His book was my “parent handbook” when my kids were little.  And now I am part of his latest (and last) edition.
Listen to children.  Pay attention to them, and to what they like.  Read, read, read.  It makes the biggest difference.  Children that I taught ages ago return to school and tell me so.
Follow Jennie via Twitter: @jlfatgcs and Facebook

Please visit our wonderful Guest Blogger, Jennie @ A Teacher’s Reflections to read more about all her teaching preschoolers for over thirty years.
Guest Bloggger

  1. Thank you for sharing. Jennie is inspirational. Her words come straight from her heart and her enormous love of children and books.

    • 😊

    • Thank you for visiting and your comment. I am just wondering if you would like to do a G…uest post as well. Please let me know, then I can set you up and you can do a post at your convenience. That will be awesome, thanks for thinking about it.

  2. How lovely to discover how you went into teaching. Very inspiring!

  3. “I had not been read to as a child, except for The Five Chinese Brothers from my grandmother. This was the one and only book, and to this day I remember it vividly.”
    Wow. And out of want was birthed passion…

    • I think you’re right, Laura. 😊

    • Dear Laura. Do you wish to participate and also G…uest Post here with us? What do you think? Please let me know if you’re interested.

      • How sweet. Thanks for the invite! Would love to contribute, but not quite sure when, later more that sooner for sure – will notify you via your blog instructions when I get closer to a possible time and/or have an idea of what to write! HA!
        Have a good ‘after eclipse glow’ week.

  4. We need more teachers like Jennie 🙂

  5. What a lovely job, reading and teaching children, although I know that it takes a special type of person to do it really well and bring out the absolute best in children.

  6. Lovely guest post, Jennie and Esme. I’ve never met a little kid who didn’t love a book and having adults around who are just as enthusiastic is wonderful! 😀

  7. Hello Jennie! You absolutely speak to my heart here. Reading to and with children is the greatest gift we can give them. Add storytelling to the mix and I think those children will never be lonely.

  8. Great post about a great teacher! I love hearing the details of how and why Jennie reads picture books AND chapter books to her preschoolers.

  9. You can’t have a better guest than Jennie. Her love of reading, and that same love for children always warms my cynical old heart.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Your kind words are very much appreciated, Pete. Many thank yous!

    • Hi Pete – read your about and just love it, how about you share some of your stories etc. as a G…uest Poster here with us? What do you think?

      • Would you like to reblog something, or shall I write something just for your site? Let me know the type of subject matter you have in mind, and email me at petejohnson50@yahoo.com
        Thanks very much for getting in touch.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        • Hi Pete – I would love it if you can write something, or if you do not have time, then just copy and redo a post direct on my blog, but I do prefer a fresh post not a reblog. I will send you the invite in a minute to your address as listed above and then you can do your post at your convenience. The WP contributor role unfortunately does not allow you to add any images, so please email that to me at cookandenjoy@shaw.ca for me to add. I also request your permission to add a pingback to your blog as well as permission to add a picture of you. If permitted, please add that to your email to me. I am humbled and honed that you’re willing to be a G…uest here. Looking forward to your contribution.

          • No problem. I will get on it soon, and send a photo with the article. Any preferences on subject matter?

          • Thank you so much, Invite done and looking foward to your post. Any subject matter will be good, thanks so much. Email your pictures once done and I will provide publish date within 48 hours of receipt of your email. Looking forward to your post. Thanks so much

  10. Great interview and inspiring. Reading is wonderful , though as a child I did like it so, but story time with dad was the best thing ever.

  11. Wonderful.. Jennie is a wonderful teacher, I wish She had been mine when I was at school. 🙂

    • Aww… that is so nice, Sue. Thank you! 😊

    • Dear Sue, I visited your blog and love what I found there. May I ask if you would be interested to G…uest Post here with us.

      • Many thanks for your kind offer, I had a lovely time browsing your own blog.. And May I take a rain-check and get back to you when I have a little more time… This next week is a busy one for me, but I look forward to getting to know you and your blog in more depth very soon. 🙂 Sue

        • Sue that will be perfect. If you wish, just let me know then I can do the invite and you can do your post at your convenience. I await your response. No rush to do the post.

          • Many thanks and I will let you know, could I request though you take down my email from public view, even though it is only used for WP, to prevent spam etc.. Many thanks to you 🙂

          • Sorry if I have caused any issues, never intended, but removed as requested. Please keep me posted should you be interested.

          • No my friend you have not caused a problem, at all. And I apologise if my comment made you feel that it was, It is just I have experienced problems before, so had to alter my email address for WP.. And just prefer to keep it hidden, and for the use of my WordPress friends who can view it in their comment sections.. And yes.. I am very interested in your offer, Sorry I do not know your first name.. 🙂 But I have a funeral to attend on Wednesday, so for the moment I can not give your kind request the attention it deserves. So please bare with me..
            Many thanks again.. And thank you so much.. Blessings Sue 🙂

          • My name is Esmé and not to worry about anything Sue. Take care and sorry to hear about the funeral. I will do the invite and when you’re ready, just drop me an email at cookandenjoy@shaw.ca and we can chat further. Talk to you later.

          • Thank you Esme, and I accepted your invite… And will indeed be in touch.. Many thanks Sue 🙂

          • Awesome whoop whoop. Looking forward to it. 🌹🌹

  12. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    I was invited to be a guest blogger on The Recipe Hunter’s terrific blog. Thank you, Esmé. It’s a great story… about me!

  13. Thank you so much, Esmé, for having me as a guest blogger! 😊

  14. Children always love hearing stories, especially when they get to ask questions and become more involved. This is such a lovely, cheery post 🙂

  15. I would always read to my children at night when they were younger. It’s a special time to bond together. Truly irreplaceable memories. X

  16. Wonderful post! Jennie I totally agree – reading aloud and storytelling are two of the most powerful gifts we can give a child 😍

  17. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  18. Many thanks, Sally!

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