Joy Cowley is a Genius

Cowley, Joy. Mrs. Wishy Washy. The Wright Group, 1980.

We’ve been reading Mrs. Wishy Washy during shared reading in our remote kindergarten class the past two days. It’s a bit of a classic (i.e. old), so I was curious to see how it might translate. 

Kids have been riveted. 

When I closed the zoom lesson on Monday, I could feel it. There was an energy that matched what I would expect to feel in the classroom—kids leaning in to get a closer look, blurting out their reactions at the page turns, beginning to join in the parts of the story that repeat. 

There is something so joyful about this book. 

Maybe it’s the reckless abandon of the animals splashing in the mud. Or it could be that repeating phrase, “Oh, lovely mud!”—perhaps not the first that springs to mind for a kindergartner—but it is so perfect in this book, so fun to say together. 

I wonder if the magic lies in the hard working Mrs. Wishy Washy, as she scrub-a-dub-dubs them all up—cow, pig, duck—one after the other. She’s a little bit grouchy, but we love her anyway for caring about the animals so much. 

Then, of course, there’s the gleeful decision of all three animals to jump right back into that lovely mud after their baths. What kid can’t relate to that? (Even if they might never do it in real life—or perhaps, especially if they would never do it in real life.) 

In the end, I don’t think it’s really about the book at all. I think there is just something joyful about the process of learning to read.  

This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge on Two Writing Teachers Blog. Take a peek and see what’s happening there; we invite you to join the slicing community!

6 Comments

  1. Marina Rodriguez

    Oh, Amy… how I love the read aloud. I could feel the joy in your words, “When I closed the zoom lesson on Monday, I could feel it. There was an energy that matched what I would expect to feel in the classroom—kids leaning in to get a closer look, blurting out their reactions at the page turns, beginning to join in the parts of the story that repeat.”
    Pure joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. haitiruth

    Yes to the joy of learning to read! I was so excited when my children did – better than walking. (Although that was wonderful too.) Thanks for slicing today! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Like

  3. Fran Haley

    -Mrs. Wishy-Washy!! I’ve not seen her in quite a while so to open your post and find her standing there in her resolute way is a joy in itself – the joy of the familiar. You’re so right – there is something so joyful about the process of learning to read, and few things as magical as a read aloud by a teacher who savors it. Joy is contagious, after all… I can see those kindergarten faces aglow.

    Like

  4. cmargocs

    The joy of learning to read, yes…but also the joy of the reader, felt by the listeners! It is that joy that is infectious, that intangible but oh-so-important piece to teaching reading–we must teach the joy in making sense of text, the wonders that are at our fingertips once we master that skill. Why else would it be worth the hard work to do so? Thank you for what you are doing with the littlest learners, from this elementary librarian!

    Like

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