Early Childhood Literacy & Purple Prose

As soon as I read “Early Childhood Literacy”, I was eager to read Liz’s post, and I was blown away by what I learned. Velma (her grandmother) is my new hero. She had an excellent education, rare for women in the early 1900’s. She studied under Clara Whitehill Hunt, the children’s librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. Whitehill chaired the American Library Association committee that established the John Newbery Medal. That stopped Liz in her tracks. Me, too.

Liz explores much more, from Whitehill’s purple prose book, to emergent curriculum (I champion that), to reading aloud, to Jack McCarthy’s performance. Read on!

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Image: greenmountainwriting.com

*Shaggy Dog Story Alert*

A Confession

I must confess that I have a fondness for purple prose–although not, of course, in contemporary writing. Perish the thought! Writing of the florid persuasion must stay strictly a nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century affair.

A Little Backstory

Toronto, c. 1920 Velma is on the left. Seated on the step below her is her friend Winifred Barnstead. The woman behind them is their boss.

When my mother was writing a family history of her matrilineal line, several years ago now, she made a point of telling me how important education had been to her mother’s parents. They had worked very hard to ensure that both of their children–my grandmother Velma and her brother Fred–had the opportunity for a university education. Unlike some at the time, my great-grandparents wanted Velma and Fred to escape the family farm in Economy Point, Nova Scotia.

Given how important…

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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 children's books, Early Education, Inspiration, literacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Early Childhood Literacy & Purple Prose

  1. beth says:

    how amazing and way ahead of her time, thanks for sharing this

  2. beetleypete says:

    I had already left a comment on Liz’s post, Jennie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Super share, Jennie.

  4. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Jennie!! Most excellent indeed! I left a comment on Liz’s post. May all who strive to better this world in their own unique way, be blessed!! xo

  5. A wonderful post by Liz, and a fun connection to you, Jennie. Lovely.

  6. L. Marie says:

    Great post! Nice to see that you got a shout-out!

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