Written by Gen
Last week, my school was honored to host a visit from best-selling author and musician, Eric Litwin (@ericlitwinbooks), creator of the original four Pete the Cat books, the lovable Nuts family, and Groovy Joe. Former teacher, Litwin, performed a 45-minute concert that merged music and reading, fully engaging students and staff alike. One of my students said the following day, “That was my most favorite [assembly] ever!” This is high praise, because we have an assembly every week.
Litwin’s books contain messages of perseverance, patience, giving, and problem-solving. These messages are conveyed through playful songs and rhymes that entice children to read and sing along (I guess I should mention that phonemic awareness, phonics, and math are able to be reinforced beautifully in these texts, but all the kids remember is having fun!). There are also a few gems for the grown-ups, too. You will thoroughly enjoy finding every nut pun under the sun with references to your decade of choice as you read about the endearing Hazel Nut and her brother, Wally Nut.
When Litwin performs, though, there is a deeper message for educators. One beyond academics and achievement. It is a message of joy. Litwin emphasizes the importance of creating joyful reading experiences for our students. Not just once in a while. Not just for special occasions. Every day. In every content area, even. He’s really on to something here, because there is considerable evidence suggesting experiencing happy emotions during reading causes children to initiate more reading experiences. More reading experiences, of course, lead to more achievement in reading.
Please do make yourselves familiar with all of Eric Litwin’s adorable characters on his website, and if your school is able to host a visit, I highly recommend that you do. His performances are designed for elementary students of all ages. Details regarding how to schedule a performance can also be found on his website. More importantly, though, I encourage you to reflect on the reading experiences you’ve recently presented to your students. Are they joyful? Are they joyful enough? Have they inspired your students to seek out more reading experiences? Do they help to enjoyably integrate content areas? If you find yourself looking to create more joy in your day, check out the ten titles below. You can also stay tuned, because Mr. Litwin is currently working on a new book for educators specifically about creating joyful reading experiences in classrooms. I am waiting with excitement and anticipation for this book!
Books by Eric Litwin: