The Boy Who Cried Tears of the Heart – Epilogue

Reading aloud happened today, twice.  Both events spanned years – well, connected years – yet were about the same child.  Let me explain.

This is the time of year that I chapter read fact, not fiction books.  I start with Little House in the Big Woods, and move to Little House on the Prairie.

Jackson was glued to Little House on the Prairie many years ago.

One of my greatest memories is reading aloud the chapter, “Crossing the Creek.”  Jackson loved chapter reading, and this chapter is full of excitement, worry, and tears.  I have to stand and walk as I read the words.  I always get choked up.  Laura’s family crosses the creek in the covered wagon and everything goes wrong.  When the family is finally on the other side, Laura says, “Where’s Jack?”

Jack is their dog.  This is so sad.  And that is where I have to stand up and read, pace, cry, and reach out to all the children in the room.  This is humanity and empathy.

Jackson pulled his blanket over his head.  I could tell he was crying, not by sounds, but by his body moving with his silent sobs.  I scooped him up.  The story is one of my very favorite blog posts from years ago.

Today Jackson returned to school  to read aloud to my class, his old class.  He wanted to do this.  He is an excellent reader (no surprise).  Those early years of reading aloud have given him the tools and the passion to become a reader.

Here’s the best part: today was the day I read aloud the chapter, “Crossing the Creek.”  Same chapter, same child, on the same day he visits to read aloud. Thank you, Jackson.


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 Book Review, chapter reading, children's books, Dogs, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, history, reading aloud, reading aloud, Student alumni and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to The Boy Who Cried Tears of the Heart – Epilogue

  1. beetleypete says:

    It is always a joy to see your former pupils return to read to the current class. That demonstrates what a powerful effect you have on those children, Jennie. Books do not read themselves, and your inspirational teaching is the key to unlocking their wonders.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      Books do not read themselves…. I love that! Yes, I have to make those words come alive. It’s always a wonderful surprise when students return. Thank you, Pete.

  2. ksbeth says:

    what a beautiful full circle on so many levels

  3. barbtaub says:

    Only the very luckiest children in the world get to start their school journey in a classroom like yours where the real lessons are empathy, imagination, and a lifetime of love for learning as adventure.

  4. Opher says:

    So good – and great to have such an emotional attachment. That is what is so lacking. We seem to hide our emotions, gloss over them, not share them.
    Reading is the key to sharing emotions.
    So nice that your students keep coming back!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Opher. Yes, if we hide our emotions, or we don’t bring emotions in a book to life, then we’re not role models for kindness and empathy. Children learn from us. Okay… Jack the dog returned in today’s chapter. He somehow swam that rising creek and found the family days later. I cried. That’s two days in a row. I’m glad.

  5. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a wonderful story and perfect timing on Jackson’s part. The visits by the returning students must mean a lot to the current students.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m glad you like the story, Dan. I do think it means a lot to the children who get to hear a former student read. They’re spellbound. That sends a good message.

  6. Heartwarming, Jennie.

  7. You’re a stronger person than I am, Jennie. I get too choked up to read things like that. I can’t read Love You Forever, and that kind of book. But you’re doing a good thing by pushing through it and bringing the kids along.

    • Jennie says:

      I think it’s a good thing for children to see their teacher get choked up. It sends a message of goodness and heart. And I can’t read the chapter without doing so! I know what you mean about Love You Forever. Thanks so much, Anneli.

  8. Darlene says:

    Just the other day I read a story out loud that I wrote about my cowboy dad, who passed away 12 years ago. I chocked up again.
    I think it is so wonderful that the former students return to read to the current class. I remember Jackson. xo

    • Jennie says:

      I know what you mean, Darlene. I can understand about your dad. It’s always a wonderful surprise when students return to read! Jackson’s early post still gets to me. 🙂

  9. I remember that very poignant scene, Jennie. That particular book really highlighted the hardships of life at the time. Wonderful post.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    You reminded me of my daughter’s grief in the classroom read of “The Bridge to Teribithia” She was older and a little embarrassed to be crying in front of her friends.

  11. I remember your first post about Jackson…thanks for the ‘update’.
    His timing was quite serendipitous….

    • Jennie says:

      I love that first post, Laura. I couldn’t believe his reading was on the same day as the Jack the dog chapter. Thank you, Laura!

  12. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is one of the joys of teaching! Thank you for this wonderful post.

  13. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is another excellent post from that excellent teacher Jennie!

  14. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, of course it would be that book and chapter … how could it be anything else?! 😀 A heartwarming post and delight to see the Jackson wants to share his love of reading his former class! Now, I must borrow the book … I realise I’ve just seen the tv series!


  16. ren says:

    Synchronicity at its finest!!! Thank you, again! Hugz….

  17. A. L. Kaplan says:

    I loved those books and remember reading that one years ago.

  18. I had tears reading this too. Seeing you scoop him up because he felt the story. What a wonderful gift in teaching him that it is ok. You are a superhero!

  19. There is nothing more rewarding for a teacher — or a writer — to see a child come full circle in their comprehension of the real meaning of reading…

  20. Isn’t it wonderful how the simple act of reading and listening can bring people together in ways that nothing else can? You and Jackson are truly blessed.

  21. Norah says:

    I remember that blog post, Jennie. This one tells of an amazing synchronicity. Some things are just meant to be.

  22. What a touching and memorable experience. This is truly magic!

  23. abbiosbiston says:

    This is so lovely. My little boy has started noticing if there are sad/scary things in the stories we read…which are pretty basic as he is not quite 3. I imagine we have many sad but special moments ahead.

  24. dgkaye says:

    So heartwarming Jennie. Your work is done and doing. 🙂 x

  25. Oh my, so heartfelt and I feel choked up! What a wonderful circle this tale has become.

  26. So special how your students come back to visit where it all began.

  27. srbottch says:

    I remember a 7th got English teacher, Miss Sullivan, who cried while reading a chapter from a book whose title I can’t recall. Was it ‘Evangeline’? Am I close? Anyway, it was a touching moment that I haven’t forgotten.

    • Jennie says:

      Seeing a teacher cry can teach us empathy and kindness. You still remember, it was powerful. The book? Evangeline is poem by Longfellow. Other than that, I’m stumped. Thanks, Steve.

      • srbottch says:

        Jennie, that’s it, Evangeline! Wow, I haven’t forgotten everything, yet😊. She read it every year, and cried. My sister had heard her four years prior. I’ll have to read it, now. And, I must admit, I got a tear after reading WASHINGTON and JOHN ADAMS, both wonderful biographies.

      • Jennie says:

        You’ll have to let me know when you read the poem again. Hubby absolutely loved the two biographies!

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