One of our favorite times of the day at school is chapter reading. It is intimate. We feel snuggled together. Much like being in sleeping bags while camping, with nothing but words to hear, we look forward to that time.
Before we begin chapter reading, we recite Goodnight Moon. Those timeless words, soothing and rhyming, are a favorite. Children have nearly memorized the words, and they look forward to hearing them every day. A favorite is doing it “the silly way”, adding every child’s name into the verse. “In the great green room there was a telephone and Mary’s red balloon, and a picture of Tommy jumping over the moon”, and so on. Children are on the edge of their seats!
We can forget how much a child is truly absorbing, if s/he is quiet. Often something then happens that surprises us, and we are reminded just how important those Goodnight Moon words are to children. Delaney surprised us and made the cow jumping over the moon:
After listening to the words of Goodnight Moon, we are then ready to chapter read. Our current book is Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. It’s one of the best, and children love it. There are always interruptions when we chapter read. Sometimes there are questions, sometimes we stop to talk about what happened. Sometimes a child needs help, and sometimes children are chatty or distracted. Early on, when there was distraction, I stopped and said, “If you want to hear the story, say ‘RAVIOLI’.” A chorus of voices immediately yelled “RAVIOLI!” Since then, if there is any stoppage in chapter reading, or any distraction, children take it upon themselves to say, “RAVIOLI!” That is perhaps the best word a teacher can hear. It really means “Please don’t stop, we want more.”
A parent of a child in my class read this story of chapter reading in the classroom. He is a 12th grade English teacher at Lawrence Academy, a private high school in town. His comment was,
“I wish my 12th grade students would start yelling “RAVIOLI!”
Years ago I had a long conversation with the head of the school’s English department. She and I talked about reading aloud, and discovered we both do the same thing – turn out the lights and have children put their heads down. From preschool to high school, it works. I told the parent about this long-ago conversation. He said,
“She calls it ‘lights out heads down’. I often read aloud to my students but keep the lights on – starting Monday, I’ll put them off.”
I hope there are shouts of “RAVIOLI!” from 12th graders on Monday.
Reading to my class was one of my favourite times – for the kids too. I think it’s what I miss most about retirement. Ravioli is a great idea.
Definitely my favorite time at school. Thanks, Anneli!
The Ravioli idea is good for all ages, even adults. I was amazed as an adult educator how often adults interrupted when I read.
Thanks, Darlene! Usually the kids are captivated, but sometimes it is a “ravioli” day. I would have far less patience with adults interrupting. 🙂
I might try that in our staff meetings. I swear, a two-hour meeting could be reduced to 15 minutes if not for the distractions 🙂
A great idea, Dan! I hope you try it out. Just wait till a fellow staff member is annoyed at the distraction and says “ravioli”. Everyone loves it! Plus, it works. 🙂
RAVIOLI RAVIOLI – never stop!
I promise, Opher. 🙂
(Also, I think I’ll be able to recite Goodnight Moon by heart on my deathbed. )
Isn’t that wonderful?! 😀
If you turn out the lights on 12th graders you might get SNORE rather than RAVIOLI
True. I’ll find out when I see the teacher on Tuesday. 🙂
Ha ha ha. We would like a report.
In my Part 4, I will include that. Really!
My students and I get comfy on our class carpet and read. They really do love the time and so do I!
It’s the best!
Yes it is:)
Jennie, you have definitely made reading a true art!!! Thank you for every singe day that you read to your children and inspire others to do the same. This children could well be attending a wonderful Harry Potter school where all the children learn magic!
That’s so nice, Anne. Thank you! Harry Potter school with the magic of reading aloud for children – awesome! 🙂
Makes me want to go back to when my Grandma was still alive. I would sit next to her in her rocking chair and softly pinch on her well wrinkled arms and love on them while she would read to me. I had to be between 14 and 16 then. She always read me some tales from Hans Christian Anderson, my favorites. And those stories, while many people reading them for the first time – The Little Match Girl and The Red Shoes – think they are dismal, I saw some very excellent life lessons in them. The Red Shoes shows how important it is to maintain balance in our lives and what happens to us when we fail to do that. The Little Match Girl shows how we can transcend our worst things in our lives by using our imagination (which is a lot of what children do) and by doing that, she did just that – transcended the horror of her real life, and in so doing, she was transformed. Of course the book story shows her being dead the next day, but I choose to have her transformed, so of course the old her would die and perhaps now she was empowered in her life. That’s how I always chose to interpret those two stories. They helped me a lot in my young life.
They are wonderful stories, and you had the pleasure of having your grandmother read them aloud to you. Yes, so much is wrapped up in words, we just have to read them. Best to you, Anne.
Jennie, this is wonderful!
Thank you, Charles!
I could have done with this advice when holding union meetings, during the 1980s. We never got through a single agenda! 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
I think it definitely would have worked. 🙂 Best to you, Pete!
Reblogged this on Karen Dowdall and commented:
Jennie, I love this post and the pictures, so adorable and so charming!
Thank you so much, Karen! I’m so glad you liked this post. 😊
Jennie, my pleasure. I love all of your posts and this one I thought was just so adorable and delightful. Karen 🙂
Why not? Elder ones love playing games, too 🙂
Teaching is like playing your favourite game ❤
Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea Jennie.
Thank you so much!
I never knew Good Night Moon, but I still think this is a delicious post, Jennie. Here’s to Ravioli! Hugs.
Thanks so much, Teagan. Ravioli rocks! 😀
I meant to ask you, Jennie, do you know if the story “Goodnight Moon” is related to the music? I heard the wife of Eric Whitacre, composer and musician of amazing music, sing a song called Goodnight Moon. If it is not, I will try to find it on Youtube and check the words.
I do not know. Yet, I often make up different different tunes and sing it to the children.
I can remember my teacher reading to the class in Grade 6 and 7. I was 10 and 11 years old. Sister Agatha gave me such fascinating books to read and I like her choices for aloud reading too. One of the books she read to us was I am David.
That is wonderful, Robbie. If only all teachers read aloud to their students!
Let the ravioli flow! This would be one kind of pasta I couldn’t get enough of. 🙂
Except now I find myself standing here with a can opener….
Oh and there is a new Halloween parody of Goodnight Moon out called Goodnight Goon! As a Horror writer with metal in her hands and drool on her chin I thought mentioning it was timely!
Thanks, KC! And yes, I know the book. 🙂 There have been many take-offs, which speaks to quality of the book. Ravioli!
Shouting ravioli is such a great idea and of course I ❤ GOODNIGHT MOON!
Thank you, Marcia. It is one of the best. ❤️
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Sounds fantastic! Never before heared about this, encouraging children. 🙂
Thanks you, Michael. 🙂
Love it Jennie! Always my pleasure! Michael
You are never too old or too smart to learn something new. Sometimes, you have to go back to the basics. What a wonderful story!!!
Thanks so much, Marlene! 😀