“Ravioli” and Goodnight Moon

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.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in books, chapter reading, children's books, Early Education, Imagination, Inspiration, reading, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to “Ravioli” and Goodnight Moon

  1. 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.

  2. Darlene says:

    The Ravioli idea is good for all ages, even adults. I was amazed as an adult educator how often adults interrupted when I read.

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Darlene! Usually the kids are captivated, but sometimes it is a “ravioli” day. I would have far less patience with adults interrupting. 🙂

  3. Dan Antion says:

    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 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      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. 🙂

  4. Opher says:

    RAVIOLI RAVIOLI – never stop!

  5. barbtaub says:


    (Also, I think I’ll be able to recite Goodnight Moon by heart on my deathbed. )

  6. If you turn out the lights on 12th graders you might get SNORE rather than RAVIOLI

  7. AJ says:

    My students and I get comfy on our class carpet and read. They really do love the time and so do I!

  8. 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!

    • Jennie says:

      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.

      • Jennie says:

        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.

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!

  10. beetleypete says:

    I could have done with this advice when holding union meetings, during the 1980s. We never got through a single agenda! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  11. Reblogged this on Karen Dowdall and commented:
    Jennie, I love this post and the pictures, so adorable and so charming!

  12. Why not? Elder ones love playing games, too 🙂
    Teaching is like playing your favourite game ❤
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea Jennie.

  13. I never knew Good Night Moon, but I still think this is a delicious post, Jennie. Here’s to Ravioli! Hugs.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Norah says:

    Let the ravioli flow! This would be one kind of pasta I couldn’t get enough of. 🙂

  17. 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!

  18. Shouting ravioli is such a great idea and of course I ❤ GOODNIGHT MOON!

  19. Pingback: “Ravioli” and Goodnight Moon – WrittenCasey

  20. Sounds fantastic! Never before heared about this, encouraging children. 🙂

  21. 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!!!

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