“Charlotte’s Web” and a Parent Conversation.

Dad (Michael) picked up his son (Bradley) from school this week.  We had a brief but powerful conversation, one I will long remember:

Dad:  “You know, Bradley talks a lot about chapter reading at school.  He talks about Charlotte’s Web.”

Me:  “I’m glad to hear that, Michael.  He loves it, even though he might fall asleep before it’s over.”

Head nodding.  Serious thinking.

Me:  “It’s really a big thing, Michael, because you have to make the pictures in your head.  Children have to think and focus.  It’s a huge step in literacy.”

More head nodding and serious thinking.  A long pause.

Dad:  “I think I should chapter read to Bradley before he goes to bed.  Just a chapter each night.  Maybe Charlotte’s Web.”

Me:  “That would be wonderful, Michael.  Bradley would love it.  We finished the book but it’s fresh in his brain.  And, he didn’t hear the whole thing.”

More head nodding and thinking.  Much more.

Dad:  “His birthday is next month.  He has too much stuff.  We’ll get him Charlotte’s Web for his birthday.”

I think I smiled so hard that my cheeks hurt.  I reached out to touch Michael’s shoulder.  We looked at each other and understood.  No words, just smiles.

There are those moments in teaching that are brighter than all the stars and stick with us like glue.  They may be fleeting in time, yet they are powerful.  This was one of those moments.

I hope E.B. White is looking down and smiling.

“Literature has been the vehicle that connects us.  Regardless of age, everyone loves a good story.”
~Pete Springer, author and teacher~


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.
This entry was posted in chapter reading, children's books, E.B. White, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, literacy, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to “Charlotte’s Web” and a Parent Conversation.

  1. beth says:

    oh, this made me cry. so good

  2. Dan Antion says:

    You’ve changed a boy’s life, Jennie. Wise words from Pete.

  3. barbtaub says:

    I don’t know about EB White, but I’m smiling. (And a bit teary.)

    • Jennie says:

      Smiling and teary is a good thing. Thank you, Barb. When E.B. White wrote “Charlotte’s Web”, he wrote from experience. His story is fascinating. His grand niece lives nearby, and we have met on many occasions. She is the keeper of his his family history. I touched and typed on his typewriter, the same one he typed the words for “Charlotte’s Web”. Can you imagine?

  4. K.L. Hale says:

    Jennie, this is so touching and endearing. Your experiencing the rewards of your labor and passing it on. You know how I feel about “Charlotte’s Web”…God bless you, Jennie. 💛

  5. Yes, everyone loves a good story – but your focus was on the long-term benefit for the son with the story being the vehicle. Well done, Jennie!

  6. Pete and you are on the same wave length. It’s assuring to know you each have inputted much into your students’ lives.
    BTW: hubby just finished reading EB White’s Essays…a library book I’d tossed onto the coffee table in the living room (in other words it was out of my library book bag in full view!) He really enjoyed it…

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, Pete and I are on the same wave length. It’s what we do best. When he visited my classroom last spring, it was a natural. I need to read E.B. White’s essays! The best book is “Some Writer” by Melissa Sweet. OMG, it takes Andy (E.B.’s nickname) from a kid to…everywhere. It’s not a novel. It’s better. Besides the story, there are photos, clips of his essays, behind the scenes of writing for The New Yorker, and much more. I treasure this book!

  7. beetleypete says:

    Michael caught on early. I hope he spreads the word!
    My mum read to me every night when I was small. She started with Aesop’s Fables, and I have never forgotten them.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes he did. I hope he spreads the word. At the very least, he has given his son a great gift, the same your mother gave to you. You were lucky, Pete. Very lucky.

  8. You changed 2 lives with that conversation. Father’s and son’s and maybe even if there are more children, they will also be affected by chapter reading by dad. Wow!

  9. This is wonderful. You made a huge difference to not one but two lives there.

  10. Loving it and sharing the love! 💞

  11. Everyone loves a good story, and everyone loves a great post as well, Jennie!♥

  12. quiall says:

    When I was a child, one of my favourite gifts was always a book. And my parents always saw to it that we got at least one.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I am glad that the father had that aha moment with you.

  14. Brenda says:

    Youre right, those moments are precious. It makes it all so rewarding. Thanks for reminding us why we do this job x

  15. Carla says:

    I absolutely love this, especially when a parent gets it. Well done, Jennie.

  16. What a wonderful conversation! You teach parents as well as children–and everybody wins!!

  17. Darlene says:

    This made me so happy! You are educating kids and parents. The quote from Pete is perfect!

  18. mitchteemley says:

    Awww. Such a quiet little breakthrough.

  19. Hi Jennie, it is lovely when parents become involved. They don’t always as you know.

  20. How sweet, Jennie. Michael’s memory of his dad reading Charlotte’s Web to him will last his whole life.

  21. willowdot21 says:

    What a beautiful moment you caught father and son son in your reading web 💜

  22. Heartwrenching! Educating adults start with teaching their children. 😉 Well done, Jennie! Have a beautiful week! xx Michael

  23. Jennie, thanks for sharing this lovely moment. Yes, something wonderful to remember. Hugs on the wing.

  24. dgkaye says:

    So beautiful Jennie. ❤

  25. bosssybabe says:

    wonderful to see the fruits of your hard labour 🙂

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