“Bob” and Book Bears

My Book Bears reading group at the library meets every month.  We read a book, and have a discussion about the book the following month.  If that was the only thing that happened at Book Bears, it would be dreadful.  These are the Big Kids, second and third graders.  They read.  They’re smart.  And they have Jennie.

While I’m a preschool teacher who reads aloud zillions of picture books and great chapter reading books, this is different.  They’re older.  They get it.  I love it.

We talk about deep things, funny things, and important things when we discuss the book we have read.  It’s lively and fun.  Children take turns reading aloud their favorite part of the book.

And then we get to the best part – “Bob”

Over a year ago I brought along my favorite summer read, like all the other Book Bears did.  We shared our favorite books.  Bob was a big hit (understatement), so I began to read aloud the book at the end of every monthly meeting.  And I never looked backed.  Neither did the Book Bears.

Children stare and are gripped in silence when I read this book so they don’t miss a word.  Really.  They’re hooked.  So am I.

Here is the end of what I read aloud today:

“You remember a lot  about when I was here before”, I tell Sarah.

“Well, we don’t get a lot of visitors.  Hey, speaking of your invisible friend, have you dug up your time capsule yet?”

“My what?”

“You’re time capsule!  That’s what you called it.  You said you were going to bury it before you went back home.”

This feels important.  “Do you happen to remember where I buried it?”

She smiles.  “Sorry.  I can’t remember things I never knew.  You said it was for your invisible friend.  Maybe you should ask him.”

And then she laughs.

Time capsule?  Are you kidding?  This is the best story.  No wonder Book Bears chant, “Bob. Bob. Bob.”  Rylan and Mason are die hard fans!

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.  If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
-Albert Einstein-


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.
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56 Responses to “Bob” and Book Bears

  1. Darlene says:

    The Book Bears sound like a lot of fun and reading Bob aloud makes it even more fun! That will keep them coming back for more. Well done!

  2. quiall says:

    The best lesson I ever learned was how to read. The second best lesson was how to love to read.

  3. petespringerauthor says:

    I couldn’t sleep; I’m up early because I’ve got a million things to do today, but I had to leave a comment about this first, Jennie. I’m surprised that I am not familiar with this book. Most of the books you share, I’ve also read a bunch of times to kids. I’m going to look for Bob the next time I’m at the library.

    The other thing that struck me about your post was remembering how much happens in a child’s development in only a few years.

    People ask me all the time what was my favorite grade to teach (I taught all grades 2-6), but there was something special about every age — your comment about deep and meaningful things registered with me. I enjoyed the innocence of 2nd and 3rd graders. Still, when I got to deal with important issues like discrimination and slavery with older students in fifth-sixth grades, I had a sense of “this is an important day in these children’s education.” They are not going to stand for injustice when they see it in their lives. We connected in a way that humans connect, with eyes that said, “I’m not going to stand for this.” We read about Rosa Parks and then acted out the famous scene on the bus when she refused to give up her seat.

    • Jennie says:

      Pete, you will LOVE Bob. I’m so excited to introduce you to a new book! It is pretty new, written in 2018. Actually a fellow teacher who is as in tune with children’s literacy agrees with me that it should have been nominated for the Newbery. If my Book Bears are hooked, that says it all. You must tell me what you think when you read the book.

      Deep and meaningful probably describes child development over a few years. My leap is from preschool to 3rd grade. Your leap is from 3rd grade to 6th grade. For both of us, the younger years hold the innocence, and the older years hold important issues. Yet, my older years are your younger years. I get into pretty deep stuff with 3rd graders. That’s so interesting to see the same age group in two different ways.

      I would be over the moon reading aloud to 6th graders. We would never finish the book, because every chapter would be a huge discussion. Rosa Parks? And then I would tell them my true stories of growing up in the south in the early 60’s. Somehow I think every book I could read aloud to 6th graders would end up the same way. Throw me into that briar patch! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Pete, did you ever think about starting a read aloud program at your library?

  4. Dan Antion says:

    This sounds like great fun, Jennie. I love that quote at the end.

  5. beetleypete says:

    Having that Book Bears club is something that every school should initiate.
    Trust you to come up with something so good! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. Love Einstein’s quote. Very smart man and you are a very smart woman. 😉

  7. Love Einsteins quote too. And you are realising what he wants us to do, Jennie! Thank you. Michael

  8. Wonderful, Jennie! Kids of all ages + read-alouds, always a winning combination. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Norah says:

    I haven’t read Bob yet, but I bought it a while ago on your recommendation. You’ve just nudged me again. Thanks.

  10. What a great thing-having a book bears club! I haven’t read that book. I will have to put it on my list too. Perhaps it will find its way into #1 Grandson’s Easter basket? 😀

  11. I loved to read fairytales even as a teenager. I would sit at my grandma’s feet and beg her to read me another story and she always would. It made her my very best friend forever.

    I recently had an idea I am going to do once we get moved;. I want to buy a lot of children’s books at thrift stores and when I go to a medical appt. or to the hospital or VA, I intend to take a big bag with the books in them and I will make sure they have pictures too. I have already got a box of children’s books I got for free from one of the sites that has free things, and I intend to take them with me and offer the children a free book wherever I go. I think a lot of moms just take their children and don’t bring them a toy, juice or a good book, and often at some hospitals, they wait for hours and hours. A book would be something, and if I could get a bunch of crayons too for the children and something to color, even blank paper, I think that would be nice for them to use their creativity and all children could be read to. It is my idea to do this as a volunteer, but I think it would help a lot of children.

    • Jennie says:

      Super idea, Anne!! Those are the times children can really enjoy a book. Plain paper and crayons are a great idea, too. A pack of xerox paper is cheap and should last you a long time. I save those candy mint tins, Altoids, and fill them with crayons. Works great.

      • Great Jennie. I think those are the kinds of things parents today don’t often think of anymore. In my day those were expected and great gifts, along with a bicycle for boys and a doll for girls. So yes, I like this idea. Yes, and I can find lots of scrap papers from stationaries, etc. at thrift stores. Thank you too, Jennie.

      • Jennie says:

        Yes, yes, YES!! These are absolutely the kind of things children love and parents don’t of. Wonderful, Anne. I know you can do this. And you will make a difference, ❤️

  12. I recall reading about your book Bears before, Jennie. A great idea and these kids are the perfect age for reading chapter books aloud too.

  13. I’m following you!— keep my eyes and ears open and my pencil writing!

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