Goodnight Moon – It’s a ‘Rap’

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.

Oh, it gets better.  When COVID hit and I was reading to children on Zoom, it wasn’t enough.  I read a picture book and a chapter in our chapter reading book every day.  But, how could I recite Goodnight Moon?

I could sing it!  Better yet, I could do a Rap.  I did, and the children loved it!

Fellow blogger Pete Springer
reminded me of Jennie’s Rap and thought it was time to see it again.  Thanks, Pete.

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 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, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, literacy, music, picture books, preschool, reading aloud, reading aloud, Singing, Teaching young children and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Goodnight Moon – It’s a ‘Rap’

  1. beetleypete says:

    I remember your rap so well. You stepped up to relate to the modern children in the way that only you can. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. beth says:

    love every moment of this!!!

  3. Ritu says:

    I love this, every time!!

  4. Love it … and thanks for sharing your creativity! I thought of you yesterday when I saw the news of my governor proclaiming the “Science of Reading” recommending for reading instruction in my state. I don’t know anything about it, but given the politics in my state, a red flag flashed for me.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you Frank. It was so much fun to do. I don’t know the “Science of Reading”, but I hope it’s referring to reading to children and how it gives them academic proficiency in all areas.

  5. Opher says:

    Love it Jennie!! Roll over Snoop!

  6. Don Ostertag says:

    Love Lil Jenn the rapper

  7. Annika Perry says:

    I remember this well and it is terrific! Is there anything you can’t do, Jennie?!😀

  8. barbtaub says:

    Pete is right. This could not be more brilliant!

  9. Darlene says:

    I too just love this. During the lockdowns, I shared it with the young folks in my life. Thye all loved it as well.

  10. quiall says:

    Children learn best when they are comfortable and starting their reading with the book they know well is a marvellous way to start the journey.

  11. Dan Antion says:

    Jennie the rap start – I remember, but I had to watch again.

  12. petespringerauthor says:

    Thanks for posting this again, Jennie. The word I think of most when I see this video is adaptability. All teachers have to be adaptable and flexible. How often do we start a year, month, week, or even a day in one place and end up elsewhere? It’s the ability to think on our feet and do what we need to connect with kids, even when starting a YouTube channel during Covid or becoming a rapper. Of course, we know how much kids love and need rhythm, and you found a way to be with them, even when they couldn’t come to school.

    • Jennie says:

      My pleasure, Pete. Thanks for reminding me. It is a great mid-winter spot of happiness. Yes, adaptability is the key, all the time. Adding some rhythm and music was ‘just what the doctor ordered’ during Covid, and it still is putting smiles on faces today. 😍

  13. Robbie Cheadle says:

    Hi Jennie, you did such a great job with that rap version, I am totally bowled over. No wonder the kids adore you.

  14. Jennie, you are one of a wonderful kind. I love this.
    Children and even adults love to be included. That’s why for so many years, I’ve done the serials with “random things” from readers to drive the story. It lets them be part of it. But you take things to a higher level, with everything buoyed up by the positivity and love that you exude. Hugs.

  15. IBgorealla says:


  16. You are incredible, Jennie!Your teaching methods are extremely effective, and also very entertaining! Thanks for sharing these secrets! xx Michael

  17. Pingback: Goodnight Moon – It’s a ‘Rap’ – MobsterTiger

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