Goodnight Moon

Before children learn to read, first they must hear the words.  It’s developmental, like learning to crawl before learning to walk.  The auditory piece, including singing, hits both the brain and the soul in learning.  In my preschool class, reading aloud is a top priority, so I constantly read picture books and also chapter books.  I use a ‘voice’, stop all the time to ask questions, and often the story takes a very different turn.  We have pretty deep and serious discussions as a class, because we love reading.

Every day before chapter reading I recite Goodnight Moon.  The children love it for two reasons; they know that chapter reading is next, and they feel connected to the words in the book.  I recite the story, all the words, and they have no pictures to see (just like chapter reading.)  Over the course of the year, I have changed the words to incorporate the names of the children.  “And Tommy’s red balloon, and a picture of Sarah jumping over the moon…”.  This has been hugely successful.  The children think it is so much fun, but I realize that there is a bigger connection with the language they are hearing.  I have taken a story they love, recited with no pictures, and changed the text.  That means changing your brain, and children do that so well.

It gets more complicated, or perhaps I should say more simple.  Reciting Goodnight Moon then naturally flowed into singing.  It was already a story with a rhyme, and it already had children’s names as part of the rhyme.  So, I sang Goodnight Moon.  It didn’t matter what the tune was.  The important part was singing, as that brought ‘life’ into the words.  I occasionally changed the ‘beat’ as well, clapping or tapping my foot.

It is close to the end of the school year, and children have heard me read aloud Goodnight Moon for months.  Now, they join me, and we recite the words together.  The Helper of the Day can stand with me and recite the book alone.  That is a big deal!

Teachers naturally address visual learners.  Whether it is a classroom chart or writing on the board, the majority of information for children is often visual.  If we address the auditory learners through singing, rhyming, and chanting, we are crystallizing language.  And, it is fun!  So, I now sing poetry, stories and rhymes whenever I can.  The children love it, and it works.  Goodnight Moon is proof.


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, children's books, Early Education, picture books, preschool, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Goodnight Moon

  1. beth says:

    Wonderful on so many levels!

  2. So cool a thing to do for kids.

  3. Darlene says:

    It is so important to address all learning styles and because you do this at such a young age, It will make a life long difference.

    • Jennie says:

      It really is, Darlene. I am a visual learner. I remember in school the wooden apple in quarters to understand fractions. That was a lightbulb for me. Yet, music and rhyming was equally helpful. Jiminy Cricket taught me how to spell encyclopedia through singing. Here’s to all the different learners! Thank you so much!

  4. quiall says:

    What a marvellous concept! I truly never thought of it before. If only more children could experience what yours do.

  5. willedare says:

    I love all of this, Jennie. Although I love to read (and have escaped into books since I was quite small), I also love to listen to radio programs (like FRESH AIR and THIS AMERICAN LIFE) when I am stretching or washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. I am going to attempt to distill what you wrote in this blog post and share some of it with my Music together families… Thank you!!!

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad this resonated with you, Will. We are kindred spirits when it comes to music and children. I do listen to radio programs. It is quite wonderful. Please let me know if you share some of this with your Music Together families. 😀

  6. the use of music is so important in making these learning connections. Also, by reciting a book that is known, you are engaging the visual learners ability to tap into the pictures they can create in their head. They can close their eyes and see the story they know. When you change the words of the story, the pictures can change as well. It is important to remember that there are so many different styles of learners. Having the children act out that same story will tap into the kinetics learner. All these things are helping your learner for later in life… that is the key

  7. Goodnight Moon is a family favorite here too.

  8. That is why I always say that learning times tables by chanting them is valuable. So I’m old fashioned but I’m useless at Maths and never forget my tables. I’m an auditory learner and wish all teachers knew that there were so many different ways for children to learn and they need to combine the lot.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, chanting times tables! I would be far better at math had my teachers done that. It is disappointing that most teachers address strictly visual learners. Like you, I do wish all teachers knew there were so many different ways to teach, and to learn. If a teacher routinely sings a morning greeting song, s/he could do the same thing with other areas of teaching throughout the day. I do this spontaneously. Thanks so much, Julie.

  9. beetleypete says:

    Changing the names to include children in the class is a great idea. There are websites here where you can buy story books with the names changed to those of your own children or grandchildren. It is a good way to make them feel part of the story.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I know those books, and it is a great way for children to feel included. Can you imagine being a youngster in school and hearing your teacher call out your name when she reads a book? If that had happened to me, I would never forget it. Best to you, Pete.

  10. Frank Adamo says:

    Kids love hear audio recordings of their own voices too.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, they do! I haven’t taped the children reciting “Goodnight Moon”…yet. When we do our annual Art Show for the whole community, I will ‘interview’ children about their art masterpiece. Playing it back is funny, surprising, and definitely a treat for children. Thank you, Frank.

  11. Super post, Jennie. I always loved reading “Goodnight Moon.”

  12. Brilliant way to use such a beloved classic Jennie!

  13. Ritu says:

    So, so lovely!

  14. Reading, listening, talking BOOKS… A winning trio! ❤

  15. Carla says:

    One of my grandson’s favourite books ever!

  16. Dan Antion says:

    You have such a remarkable way of reaching the children. You have all come through a very difficult and stressful year. It seems your “old standards” pulled you through.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m glad you said that, because the “old standards”, if they’re good, will stand up to anything. Children find comfort in what they know and what works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yes, it has been a stressful year, yet finding ways to reach children is always a joy. Thank you, Dan.

  17. If children are able to learn in as many different ways as possible, it will stand them in good stead later in life. Versatility is the name of the game in the workplace now.

  18. petespringerauthor says:

    I read this book so many times to my son that it is forever etched into my brain.

  19. CarolCooks2 says:

    What a wonderful idea such lucky children it will stand them in good stead over the coming years 🙂 x

  20. Norah says:

    Awesome, Jennie, and so true.

  21. Thank you for sharing your great professiion en detail, Jennie! Its so true. When i first hear a word/ term in another as my mothers language i can much more remember, than only reading it. Michael

  22. K.L. Hale says:

    One of my very favorites, Ms. Jennie. I love reading about your gifts to kids. 🤍❤️

  23. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!

  24. Hi Jennie, what a lovely idea. I read the second post with Winn singing or chanting this story first which made this article even more meaningful.

  25. dgkaye says:

    I always say, they are lucky to have you ❤

  26. It’s so true that the way information is presented in the classroom (and beyond) is more suitable for visual learners and other learning styles are often overlooked. But this can also be due to how the internet and the media in general is structured and schools and teachers are trying to adapt to that. It’s good if teachers remind themselves that there’re other learning styles too and children learn by different methods.

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