Chapter Reading Summary at School

As a teacher, I write about many things I do with young children.  I will tell you that the most important thing I do is reading aloud.  I know this is #1.  I also chapter read, which is uncommon in preschool.  It is my favorite part of the day.  Children feel the same way.  At the end of the school year I send a newsletter to families about the chapter books we read throughout the year.  And of course I tell them so much more.

Chapter Reading
June 17, 2020

Chapter reading is one of our treasured moments of the day.  We bring to life the imagination, the world, and the past.  The anticipation of ‘what happens next’ stirs excitement every day.  Children listen and think.  They ask questions.  Ask your child, “At chapter reading where do you make the pictures?”  You will hear your child say, “In your head.”

When we finish a good book and then start a new one, emotions run high and low.  The end of a good book is so satisfying and pleasant, yet…it is over.  That is the wonderful roller coaster of reading.  And, with each chapter book we read, we ride that roller coaster again and again.

When we left school and started distance learning, we were on page 53 of Little House in the Big Woods.  I read aloud the story on YouTube, finishing the book, and then began reading (and finishing) Little House on the Prairie.  It was thrilling; from Jack the dog, to building a house, to Indians in the house.  Pa and his neighbor Mr. Scott dug a well, and we learned about the bad gas deep inside the earth (Pa had to save Mr. Scott) that only a candle can detect.  Of course, I had to show my grandfather’s childhood portrait wearing a miner’s hat with the same candle. Laura and her family had fever ‘n’ ague (malaria), an illness that people thought came from eating watermelons.  There was much more that we typically don’t get to finish during the school year, from Mr. Edwards meets Santa Claus, to Fire on the Prairie.  There is also fear of Indians, which I treat as an opportunity to discuss diversity and prejudice- ‘Gloria’ helps with that.  If your child wants to continue the series, the next one, Farmer Boy is about Laura’s husband when he was a little boy.  I recommend the following one, On the Banks of Plum Creek, which begins their next journey after the prairie.

We vote on our favorite chapter books each year.  Charlotte’s Web is typically the clear winner.

These are the chapter books we have read this year.  Good books are meant to be read over and over again.  We encourage you to revisit these wonderful books with your child:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles

The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The fundamental constant that gives children the tools to succeed in school is languageThe more words that children hear, the better they will do in school.  Reading aloud to children is far more than an enjoyable experience.  It increases their language development!  In kindergarten through grade four, the primary source of instruction is oral.  The more words that a child has heard, the better s/he will understand the instruction, and the better s/he will perform in school, in all subjects.  Therefore, we will always campaign to read aloud.

A wonderful guide to book recommendations and to understanding the importance of reading aloud is the million-copy bestseller book, The Read-Aloud Handbook.  I have used the book since my children were little.  The author, Jim Trelease, visited the Aqua Room and GCS.  I am featured in the seventh edition of the 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.
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70 Responses to Chapter Reading Summary at School

  1. beetleypete says:

    The popularity of the older books is a real joy to me. Proof that an excellent book never ages.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Ritu says:

    I love this, and truly believe it, too. 🥰

  3. Darlene says:

    How great that you send this letter home to the parents so they can be more involved with their children’s education. I do hope they read those books to their children to enjoy once again.

  4. quiall says:

    Reading opens the world to a child. I loved being read to.

  5. beth says:

    I so agree with all of this, know the value on so many levels, and fondly remember my teachers doing this for me in elementary school.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I always enjoy your stories about reading to the kids. It’s so important, and you make it even more fun. I saw some of the videos, and I felt myself drifting back to childhood when someone read to me. It’s still a glorious feeling.

  7. Such a positive read, Jennie and education is so important for children. Great post.

  8. A lovely post about reading and chapter books, Jennie. My favourites among those you have mentioned here are the two Little House books. I always loved those books.

  9. Good recap of the chapter book year, Jennie. I’m sure the children miss being with you.

  10. petespringerauthor says:

    I miss a lot of things about teaching, but right at the top of the list is reading chapter books aloud to children. I loved imagining how the author intended the characters to sound and bringing that magic to my students. Many days I’d stop after twenty minutes, and I’d hear those words that any reader longs to hear, “No! Don’t stop—keep reading!”

    Great picks on the stories you choose for your students!

    • Jennie says:

      Oh Pete, I know exactly what you mean. When I retire, reading aloud will be what I miss the most. Those ‘moments’ that happen when you read aloud are as great for me as they are for the children. Yes, “No, don’t stop!” are a teacher’s dream words to hear. We are both truly lucky to have heard those words.

      When Jim Trelease visited my classroom and heard me chapter read, he was surprised that I turned out the lights. I told him it was easier for children to make the pictures in their heads. He loved that. Funny thing, the head of the English Department at our local prep school does the same thing for her senior English class when she reads aloud! Lights out, heads down.

      I’m glad you like the book picks! Thank you for that, too.

      Here is a thought for you: We both know that children don’t get enough reading aloud. I approached my public library and asked if I could establish a read aloud group for kids. They loved the idea, and I chapter read twice a month to second and third graders – the kids who have learned to read on their own and therefore the parents have stopped reading to them. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is!! My pitch to the library was that the kid who has just learned to read is the one who needs reading aloud the most.

      You would love doing this!! And, think what a difference it would make for children. Food for thought.

      When everything shut down, the library asked me if I would Zoom so we could finish the chapter book. Yes! We did, but we still need one last Zoom in August to finish the last 25 pages of “Bob”. Life is good!

      • petespringerauthor says:

        Wonderful idea! I have an in with the library too, as I belong to the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival group, which brings twenty-five nationally known children’ authors to our local schools biennially. The authors went out to over 80 schools in the county last time, and we fly them in and put them up at a first-class hotel for four nights. Our meetings are at the library, which remains closed at present, but I’m going to look into your idea down the road.

        I’m the lone male representative on a committee of about twenty-five committed volunteers. In 2019 we got lucky because power was out the week before and the week after the festival due to unplanned power shutdowns during California’s wildfire season. Here’s hoping we continue to dodge bullets for next year’s event in 2021.

      • Jennie says:

        How great to be on this committee! I promise you, the reading group will be popular. I do mine at 4:00 PM, right after school. I only wish I could do it once a week instead of twice a month. The most popular books have been “The Wild Robot” and “Bob”. Keep me posted if this works for you in the fall. Best to you, Pete.

  11. Wonderful, Jennie! I taught in grades 4, 5, 6-8 and after lunch was always read-aloud time–a favorite for teachers and students of all ages! ❤ Great selection here! HAPPY READING! ❤

  12. When my dad would read to my brother and me after supper, if he was particularly tired after a long day, he would lapse in “doing” the various characters’ voices. Does that ever happen to you?

  13. frenchc1955 says:

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

  14. You’re a wonder, Jennie. It’s always fun to learn what goes on in your classroom — no matter where it is. Hugs on the wing.

  15. A. L. Kaplan says:

    I loved reading those books.

  16. Great summary, Jennie. I’m going to get Charlotte’s Web for my grandson today. He’s definitely ready. Thanks for the reminder!

  17. TamrahJo says:

    I still have my set of Little House on the Prairie books and routinely dive in an reread them, and I’m now over the mid-century mark – and worked in a library, for awhile, where I got the opportunity to introduce such works to a whole new generation – who fell in love too – ahh…..the classics are classics for a reason… 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      How wonderful, TamrahJo. Thank you for your story. Introducing the next generation to the books you dearly loved as a child is as good as it gets. Yes, the classics are classics for a reason. That’s why my students love these books every year!

  18. Thank you for this list of chapter books too, Jennie! However whats uncommon or not, the teacher in everyday conversations with the children knows best what to teach them, which way. Thank you for another great look into your experiences. Enjoy your week, and stay save.Michael

  19. in says:

    I couldn’t understand Little House on the Prairie very well. But Charlotte’s Web was a beloved treasure!

  20. CarolCooks2 says:

    Jennie, I love your teaching style and chapter books are a perfect example of a teacher who is committed to opening their pupils minds..Great work 🙂

  21. Léa says:

    Thank you Jennie for each and every child who you have shared books with. Reading saved me and I know I am not alone in that. Reading aloud to my children when they were young was one of my favorite things. I wasn’t always sure I could find the voices I needed for all the characters we met along the way but somehow, we survived. 😉 Here is a quote I thought you might enjoy.
    “Television is very educating. Every time someone turns on the set, I go into another room and read a good book.” – Groucho Marx

  22. sjhigbee says:

    Reading aloud is a fundamental opportunity to bond with children, both in the classroom and at home, that can be all about the joy of story in a truly interactive way…

  23. I love this! You’re an amazing teacher. These books are such a classic. I have heard Charlotte’s Web, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and the Little House on the Praries. I remember saving up my money in the seventh grade to buy the box set of the Little House series. I first got into them because my Mama used to read them when she grew up.

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