Last (and Best) Parent Newsletter of the Year

My final newsletter to parents.  I tell them in a nutshell everything that mattered; the best thirty minutes of the day that made children’s minds come alive and made their hearts beat.  And every day, every thirty minutes, it happened.  Here is what I said:

Chapter Reading

June 14, 2017

Chapter reading is one of our treasured moments of the day.  We bring to life the imagination, the world, and the past.  The anticipation of ‘what happens next’ stirs excitement every day.  Children listen and think.  They ask questions.  Ask your child, “At chapter reading where do you make the pictures?”  You will hear your child say, “In your head.”

When we finish a good book and then start a new one, emotions run high and low.  The end of a good book is so satisfying and pleasant, yet…it is over.  That is the wonderful roller coaster of reading.  And, with each chapter book we read, we ride that roller coaster again and again.

We are three-quarters through Little House on the Prairie, and it is thrilling; from Jack the dog, to building a house, to Indians in the house.  Pa and his neighbor Mr. Scott dug a well, and we learned about the bad gas deep inside the earth (Pa had to save Mr. Scott) that only a candle can detect.  Of course, I had to bring in my grandfather’s childhood portrait wearing a miner’s hat with the same candle. Laura and her family had fever ‘n’ ague (malaria), an illness that people thought came from eating watermelons. 


We encourage you to finish reading the book aloud to your child.  There is much more ahead, from Mr. Edwards meets Santa Claus, to Fire on the Prairie.  If your child wants to continue the series, the next one, Farmer Boy is about Laura’s husband when he was a little boy.  I recommend the following one, On the Banks of Plum Creek, which begins their next journey after the prairie.

We voted on our favorite chapter books this year.  Charlotte’s Web was the winner!

These are the chapter books we have read this year.  Good books are meant to be read over and over again.  We encourage you to revisit these wonderful books with your child:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle’s Journey by Hugh Lofting

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The fundamental constant that gives children the tools to succeed in school is language.  The more words that children hear, the better they will do in school.  Reading aloud to children is far more than an enjoyable experience.  It increases their language development!  In kindergarten through grade four, the primary source of instruction is oral.  The more words that a child has heard, the better s/he will understand the instruction, and the better s/he will perform in school, in all subjects.  Therefore, we will always campaign to read aloud.

A wonderful guide to book recommendations and to understanding the importance of reading aloud is the million-copy bestseller book, The Read-Aloud Handbook.  I have used the book since my children were little.  The author, Jim Trelease, visited the Aqua Room and GCS.  We are featured in the new seventh edition of the book.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in chapter reading, Early Education, Imagination, Jim Trelease, reading, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Last (and Best) Parent Newsletter of the Year

  1. Meg says:

    Great teaching, Jennie. Thank you for extolling the benefits of Read Aloud to children. Meg

  2. Oh, I have the hardest time setting aside a good book and waiting until tomorrow for another chapter.

    My children loved it when I read chapter books, and they too never wanted me to stop reading.
    I’m reading to the next generation now, and here in your list are books I’ve never read!

    My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles

    The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

    Doctor Dolittle’s Journey by Hugh Lofting

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater

    I’m going to remedy that and order two to start with. I think my Little Man will enjoy My Father’s Dragon, and Mr. Popper’s Penquins right now, and I’ll save Doctor Dolittle.
    So many books, so little time is so right! Sigh!!

    Thank you for sharing this list!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! The list is a good one. After decades of reading and teaching, I can attest to that. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading the post. Happy chapter reading. 🙂

  3. The end of the school year must be a mixed blessing for you and the kids. Hopefully the parents that send their children to you will be the kind of parents that follow through and read to their children. Loved your list of chapter books.

  4. That’s an excellent letter. How did u get through so many books?! How much time do u dedicate to reading each day

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Jennie Fitzkee is coming to the close of another school year and shares with us the last newsletter to parents of the year.. About Chapter Reading … I do recommend you head over and read. Very important message… even listening to someone else reading a story increases a childs vocabulary and also stimulates their imagination.. great list of books to read with your children at any time of day..

  6. beetleypete says:

    Such a good idea to send the newsletter to parents. Judging by your success rate over the years, I am guessing that most of them follow your advice.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. John Fioravanti says:

    Excellent letter to the parents, Jennie! Hopefully, their children will ask them to continue what you started.

  8. Aw, what a wonderful letter. Thanks for sharing all your wisdom!

  9. D. Metzke says:

    I love that you put the titles of what you read during the year in your newsletter. This is a great idea that I will be sharing with teachers in Fall, what a great way to try to get parents on board with getting their children reading!

  10. Congrats on another year, Jennie. The parents must love your letter and what a wonderful year you had. Happy Summer!

  11. Words of wisdom, Jennie. Your students will never forget the love of books that you’ve helped to instill in them. 🙂

  12. Great post, Jennie. 🙂 — Suzanne

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