Katie and Miles, The Circle of Life in Reading

The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.  –Dr. Seuss-

I remember Katie von Campe like it was yesterday.  She was a “Mighty, Mighty Mustang” in my summer camp group.  That was the year, the summer, that Harry Potter was new, popular, and a big deal.  Katie was a reader.  She brought her brand new Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book to summer camp.  We read!

Recently, Katie was featured in our school’s publication “Look Who’s Soaring Now!” about former students.

Katie was the featured alumna.  She graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature, and an MFA in Writing for Children, from Simmons College.

Katie, I’m not surprised at all.  I could have guessed when we read Harry Potter.   

To my delight, here is what Katie said:

“I remember fondly putting on plays at GCS.  We were given so much control in storytelling and creating characters, and encouraged to invent our own roles.  My curiosity and imagination were nurtured.  My teacher, Jennie, was such an important influence on me.  She encouraged and believed in me and created this sense of creativity and exploration.  We were told to see what could be possible, or to see where we could go with an idea.”

Yes, Katie.  I encouraged you and believed in you.  I gave you the reins.
No teacher-directed plays.  Children rule.  Just reading and storytelling,
and your own creativity.
You felt good.  You soared.

That year Katie decided on the camp T-shirt color.  Red.  Since then, no child has ever picked the color.  I still have my red shirt.

I went to a teacher conference at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art to hear children’s author and illustrator David Wiesner speak.  He is the only children’s book author to receive three Caldecott Medals.  That’s like finding buried treasure, three times.  The museum also gave a presentation on a literacy and language program they were doing with children and families.  Low and behold, Katie was involved.  Seeing her name on the screen was terrific.

The never-ending circle of life, reading life, continues.

Miles is six-years old.  When he was in my class, he loved life, loved learning, loved being a clown in our circus performance,  and loved chapter reading.  He was glued to every book.  It’s a toss-up if his favorite was Charlotte’s Web, or Little House in the Big Woods.  Today he came in to his old class to read to the children.  He brought his own book, but decided that he would rather read an Elephant and Piggie book.  And, he did.  Oh, how he beamed with confidence, the kind that comes from a foundation of books and reading.

My goodness!  He flowed through the words.  He used a voice.  He never struggled over words.  He read the story the way that Michael Phelps swims- smoothly.  He even remembered to stop and show the pictures to the children.

Miles, I remember how sad you were when Charlotte the spider died.
You loved “Charlotte’s Web.”  And, I remember how you laughed when the goose said everything three times.

I sent the photos to Miles’ mom.  She replied, “Thank you for teaching Miles to love reading.  It all began in the Aqua Room.”

The circle of reading is never ending.  Today at chapter reading, Little House in The Big Woods, Laura got a doll for Christmas.  She named her Charlotte.  The children immediately blurted out, “Just like Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web!”  They were so excited to make that connection from many, many months ago.

There have been, and will be, many children like Katie and Miles.  All it takes is belief, confidence, and a good 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, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, play performances, reading, reading aloud, reading aloud, self esteem, Student alumni, summer camp, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Katie and Miles, The Circle of Life in Reading

  1. beetleypete says:

    I love these ‘circles’, and how the children never forget your inspiration. Be very proud, Jennie, you deserve to be.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Opher says:

    Wow!! The power of good teaching!! We give the reins and self-esteem and they soar!! That’s what it’s all about.

  3. GP Cox says:

    Every book is a new adventure!

  4. …and the circle expands further in that Katie was/is involved with your fave museum, the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum!
    Miles just might be next in line, eh?

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, and what a surprise to see that she was involved with the museum, although I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. Wouldn’t that be something if Miles was next! 😀

  5. John Fioravanti says:

    Thanks for these lovely success stories, Jennie!

  6. Dan Antion says:

    You deserve to feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in seeing these people hold true to their experience and grow up to share it with others. Great job, Jennie!

  7. Your pride shines out Jennie in your former student and in Miles.. What joy it is to read. My seven year old granddaughter is way ahead in her reading.. And absolutely LOVES Books..
    I think when you capture a childs attention in the magic of books it shows just what a great teacher you are..
    Love and Hugs.. ❤

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Sue. It really is a joy to read to children. Best thing I do all day. I’m so glad to hear that your granddaughter is a reader! You said it well, capturing the attention with the magic of books. Yes!

  8. So rewarding, Jennie. Congratulations.

  9. Darlene says:

    How wonderful to see the results of your great teaching! Everyone who introduces kids to books should get a star on Hollywood Boulevard!!

  10. It warms my heart to know that there are many young people that have had the benefit of your teaching to take into the world.They will make it a better place because of you. Nothing could be more rewarding. Loved reading every word of this.

    • Jennie says:

      Marlene, you are the kindest person. Thank you! Your words are so genuine and greatly appreciated. You should know that it was you who inspired me to post this. The school newsletter has been beside my computer for a month, then recently you commented on my former students. The day I wrote this, Miles came to read. Now, wasn’t that just perfect! So, thank YOU! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so very much, Marlene. Your words are genuine and very appreciated. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this! Actually, it was because of you that I posted this. Remember you asking and commenting about my former

    • Jennie says:

      Oops… about my former students? I have had the school newsletter beside my computer for a month, and you lit the fire to write. Good thing that Miles came in that same day to read. Then, it was really ‘full circle’. Best to you, Marlene. 🙂

  11. Your posts and learnings and sharings are always beautiful and i always learn something .

  12. Ritu says:

    Just so Precious!!!

  13. Jennie, you are a marvel. It’s amazing and inspiring that you’ve kept up with so many of your students. Katie and Miles clearly benefited from their time with you. Such a lovely post — thank you for sharing with us. Hugs!

  14. wilsonagaba says:

    Great post, thanks!

  15. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a wonderful post from an excellent teacher!

  16. Books are what it’s all about. Loved the poster title: Look Who’s Soaring Now.

  17. Every book is a new adventure!

    What a wonderful, uplifting and inspiring post. I loved it!

  18. It is wonderful to know that children still love reading so much, Jennie. My own to boys also love reading although now, in their pre- and teen years, the attraction of computers and iphones is great. They both do still read though.

    • Jennie says:

      I do love success stories of readers and children. You have given your boys the gift of a lifetime by nurturing their reading since they were very little.

  19. If only we could all retain the innocence of children without acting like we are two years old!

  20. reocochran says:

    You make a wonderful impression on your students which is so rewarding for all you do for them. Building a better tomorrow! 🌠

    • Jennie says:

      “Building a better tomorrow.” That’s exactly right. What a great phrase to describe what is happening. I feel like I need to thank all the authors who wrote the books I read to children. They are the real heroes. Thank you, Robin! 🙂

  21. Tina Frisco says:

    What a thrilling post, Jennie. I felt such enthusiasm reading this ❤️

  22. sjhigbee says:

    I always feel uplifted and encouraged when I visit your blog, Jennie:))

  23. So wonderful for Katie and Miles and all the fortunate children who became lifelong fans of reading in the Aqua Room. Another great post!

  24. dgkaye says:

    And a teacher like Jennie! 🙂

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