Getting to Know
Denise Rodenhuis is a literacy specialist at Webb Elementary School in Franklin.
She also started a 4-H club at the school to help students complete projects.
Reporter Magen Kritsch asked her the following questions:
Why did you become a
When my two daughters were little, I always loved reading to them. Books provided such rich discussions for us. I wanted my own classroom students to have this opportunity. I also wanted to help parents to understand the importance of reading to their own children. Being a reading teacher gives me the opportunity to do these things.
What is your favorite book to teach?
One of my favorites is “City Dog, Country Frog” by Mo Williams and Jon Muth. It’s a wonderful story about friendship.
Name one thing a student has taught you.
One year when I was teaching kindergarten, I had a student come on the first day who didn’t even know how to hold a pencil, let alone the letters of the alphabet. By spring time, he was writing and reading complete sentences. He taught me that every student has the capacity to learn and how powerful education can be for each child.
What is one book that has had an impact on you?
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter. This story was originally a letter to a sick child and was an instant success. Even though children loved reading this story, not one company would publish this book due in part to Beatrix being a woman. So she had it privately printed. Since she had total control of the printing process, Beatrice had it made to fit into a child’s hand. Her love for nature and children makes her one of my favorite authors.
Who is your favorite literary character?
As a child, I loved “The Boxcar Children.” I still recommend these books to children today.
If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?
Two tickets to paradise and of course a library full of books for our Webb students.
What is your favorite aisle in the grocery store?
I love the produce aisle and the fresh baked goods aisle.
If you weren’t teaching, what would you be doing?
I would love to be a storyteller.
Why did you start the 4-H club?
My two daughters were 10-year 4-H members. Four-H was such a positive experience for our family that I wanted my classroom students to have this opportunity. Four-H teaches not only responsibility and dedication, but pride in completing a project. Four-H was kind of like summer school for my two daughters. It was one way to keep their minds busy and active. So I thought 4-H would be a perfect way to keep our students’ brains engaged over the summer.
What is your favorite website?
Right now I am spending a lot of my time on mclasshome.com analyzing our student’s reading scores. Not very interesting … but very important.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Maybe a dozen.
What is the last movie you saw in theaters?
“Lincoln.” So interesting about the 13th Amendment and Lincoln’s political moves to get it passed.