August G…uest #7: Children – Teaching, Reading, Storytelling, and More

Jennie Meet Jennie @ A Teacher’s Reflections
Thank you, Esmé, for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog.  First, let me introduce myself.  I am Jennie, a long time preschool teacher, 30+ years is definitely a long time, and… well, that’s what I want to talk about.

My first day of teaching was filled with fear (of course).  My co-teacher had a plan, I was to read books to the children every day.  I had not been read to as a child, except for The Five Chinese Brothers from my grandmother.  This was the one and only book, and to this day I remember it vividly.  That first day my co-teacher handed me Swimmy by Leo  Lionni.  It was magical for me, and for the children.  It was a taste of something I knew I had to have.  And, I couldn’t get enough.

Jennie Fitzkee2
I consumed children’s books over the next few decades.  The more I read aloud, the more children wanted to hear stories, and be read to.  I had plenty of books in the classroom for children to touch, feel, hold, and turn the pages.  Questions and interest exploded.  I was the yeast in the dough, or perhaps the children were the yeast.  I kept a dictionary nearby to look up new words.  That was fun!

I became picky about books.  I just couldn’t bear reading aloud poor literature.  Thank goodness, as outstanding books are a golden key to open the mind, and spark so many questions.  I pushed the button, opened the envelope.  All I had to do was stop. Give a worried look.  Say , “Oh, dear.”  Forty minutes later we would be discussing how Rapunzel’s tower was built, or if it was fair that Jack’s mother threw the magic beans out the window.

I was doing more than reading.  I was throwing out a lifeline, a learning line, and it worked.
Jennie Fitzkee6
Conversations spilled over into lunchtime.  One day I spontaneously told a story that happened in my childhood, about The Peanut Man who came to school once a year. Then I told another story about being afraid of bats, then another one about a raccoon in my house… and so on.  They became “Jennie Stories”, and were begged for every day.

Lightbulb moment – I didn’t always need books with pictures.  Storytelling allowed the children to “make the pictures in their head”.  Oh, they did!  I decided to read aloud a chapter book, just before rest time.  Charlotte’s Web instantly became a favorite.  Children listened, remembered, asked questions.  They were part of the story.  Chapter reading was not something that preschool teachers did.  Well, I did because I had gone from picture books to storytelling, and the children couldn’t get enough.  How wonderful!

The day that Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, visited my classroom to see the teacher that reads aloud, and reads chapter books to preschoolers, was terrific. His book was my “parent handbook” when my kids were little.  And now I am part of his latest (and last) edition.

Listen to children.  Pay attention to them, and to what they like.  Read, read, read.  It makes the biggest difference.  Children that I taught ages ago return to school and tell me so.

Follow Jennie via Twitter: @jlfatgcs and Facebook

Please visit our wonderful Guest Blogger, Jennie @ A Teacher’s Reflections to read more about all her teaching preschoolers for over thirty years.

Guest Bloggger

This entry was posted in Guest Post, Share and Inspire! and tagged , , by Jennie. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

120 thoughts on “August G…uest #7: Children – Teaching, Reading, Storytelling, and More

  1. Pingback: August G…uest Post Roundup | The Recipe Hunter

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday, 17th August 2017. Cook and Enjoy Recipes/ Jennie Fitzkee, Lisa Burton/ Vashti-Quiroz-Vega, Colleen Chesebro/ Richard Ankers and Teri Polen | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Hello Jennie! You absolutely speak to my heart here. Reading to and with children is the greatest gift we can give them. Add storytelling to the mix and I think those children will never be lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Pete – I would love it if you can write something, or if you do not have time, then just copy and redo a post direct on my blog, but I do prefer a fresh post not a reblog. I will send you the invite in a minute to your address as listed above and then you can do your post at your convenience. The WP contributor role unfortunately does not allow you to add any images, so please email that to me at for me to add. I also request your permission to add a pingback to your blog as well as permission to add a picture of you. If permitted, please add that to your email to me. I am humbled and honed that you’re willing to be a G…uest here. Looking forward to your contribution.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much, Invite done and looking foward to your post. Any subject matter will be good, thanks so much. Email your pictures once done and I will provide publish date within 48 hours of receipt of your email. Looking forward to your post. Thanks so much

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: August Guest Post #7; Children: Teaching. Reading. Storytelling. – The Militant Negro™

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