Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | January 27, 2009

What teaching is all about

I just had a great moment with my students and thought I might share it with you.

Even in the middle of Tokyo, with a diverse group of noisy, energetic boys from all across the globe, Charlotte’s Web made its unique impact on another group of young readers. We just read the second to last chapter, where Charlotte dies alone at the fair. For many weeks, we have read with joy and lots of silly laughter the stories of Wilbur, Fern, and Charlotte. But today was very different.

These boys were literally silent, with all eyes on me, hoping I might read something else that said Charlotte might not really be dead. “Why?,” they kept asking. “But she did all that for Wilbur and saved his life and now she’s dead- no way!” Three of them even had red cheeks and tears in their eyes. Anything that can bring a bunch of 7 and 8 year old boys to silence and a few quiet tears certainly must be powerful.

In our very digital world, and this applies nowhere more so than in Tokyo, the importance of reading wonderful stories like this to children cannot be understated. Last summer, I picked up Hatchet, my childhood “favorite book” from the public library and remembered clearly how as a nine year old boy I really felt cold when Brian was swimming in the lake, and my stomach actually hurt when he ate all the wild berries. If it’s been a while since you’ve read Charlotte’s Web, or you’re lucky enough to have children around you that like a great story, I wholeheartedly recommend you read it again. And as I say to my students, “No, the movie just won’t do. It has to be the book.”

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Responses

  1. Hey Brad, I tried posting this the other night, but it didn’t work for some reason. Here’s try number two! I so hear you in this post! This is why I love teaching. I love experiencing books, stories, etc. with them! It is so amazing to watch them be absolutely enthralled with a book. I had a similar experience when I read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo last year to our third graders. I will never ever forget them when I read the ending. Seriously, check this book out. It is phenomenal! Miss you at Brimhall. Sarah

  2. Hey Brad, I tried posting this the other night, but it didn’t work for some reason. Here’s try number two! I so hear you in this post! This is why I love teaching. I love experiencing books, stories, etc. with them! It is so amazing to watch them be absolutely enthralled with a book. I had a similar experience when I read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo last year to our third graders. I will never ever forget them when I read the ending. Seriously, check this book out. It is phenomenal! Miss you at Brimhall. Sarah

  3. Thank you for this refreshing comment. Nothing surpasses good literature shared in common. To touch the hearts of the younger people in this day and age is never easy as you suggest. Reading stories aloud in a classroom is a must do! Barbara ( a friend and former colleague of Rose’s)

  4. Thank you for this refreshing comment. Nothing surpasses good literature shared in common. To touch the hearts of the younger people in this day and age is never easy as you suggest. Reading stories aloud in a classroom is a must do! Barbara ( a friend and former colleague of Rose’s)


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