Picture books aren’t just for fun read-alouds anymore! Use social-emotional books to help teach important SEL concepts and see your classroom’s social-emotional skills improve and flourish.
Using Social-Emotional Books Effectively
Within the first week of school, teachers learn a lot about their class. They figure out which students love to be outside, which students dislike reading, and which students need a little more help in their social and emotional development.
Teachers often use social-emotional books in the classroom to support their lessons. They use these picture books not only to entertain students but also to build social-emotional skills.
So, how can teachers effectively use picture books and activities to help teach social-emotional skills?
Using Social-Emotional Books To Teach SEL Skills
When deciding which social-emotional books to use in a classroom, look at your specific students and their needs. Doing so will help you determine which books and activities will fit best.
After that, start planning. Reading a book is a great start. But, you want to develop a lesson that turns that picture book into a practical resource.
For example, here is what to include in your SEL lesson plan.
- Ask questions before, during, and after the story and discuss important topics and new vocabulary.
- Create an anchor chart to help students see how the book connects to the topic and social skills.
- Select activities to go along with a book to help students learn and work on the skill they read about.
- Complete a writing activity to help students express their thoughts about the book and topic through words.
Social-Emotional Book Chats
It’s not enough to read a social-emotional book if we wish for students to internalize the lesson. Chatting about the book helps direct students to think in a certain way and encourages them to connect and share their thoughts.
Book Chat Example:
The book The Color Monster teaches students about expressing feelings and emotions.
While reading The Color Monster, you may ask students questions.
- What do you think this book is going to be about?
- What does it mean when your emotions are mixed?
- How does the monster feel at the end of the book?
Asking simple questions before, during, and after the social-emotional books will help students think more deeply as they listen and reflect.
Create an interactive anchor chart with students based on the book and the lesson you are trying to teach.
Anchor Chart Example:
The book The Cool Bean teaches students about what it means to be “cool” (it’s to be kind!).
While reading The Cool Bean, you may:
- Create an anchor chart about what the “cool” kids do, say, and are.
- Have students brainstorm kind things cool kids do, say, and are and add those to the anchor chart.
Hang anchor charts around the classroom to remind students daily of the social-emotional skills they have learned.
Social-Emotional Book Activities
Just reading books on social-emotional topics is often not enough for students. They also need to practice thinking about or using the skill. Try activities that help kids understand and practice the social-emotional skill presented in the book.
Book Activity Examples:
The book The Dot encourages students to try something new.
Activities you might have students complete while reading The Dot.
- Have students create an original piece of artwork of a dot.
- Create a mobile with different things they want to learn hanging from it.
Interactive social-emotional learning activities make learning more engaging and interesting for students and helps them internalize the lesson.
Have them write a response to wrap up a book and ensure students have understood the lesson and book topic.
Writing Piece Examples:
The book Peanut Butter and Cupcake is a book all about making friends.
Add an easy writing activity for students to complete after reading Peanut Butter and Cupcake.
- Write five ways to make friends. They can use ideas from the book or their own after a class discussion.
- Write about a time they made a new friend and share their experience.
As a teacher, you likely see reading social-emotional books as an opportunity to create a well-rounded lesson. These lessons may include creating an anchor chart, having a book chart, or completing a book activity. All in all, these allow students to internalize what they have learned.
Looking For Specific Social-Emotional Topics?
Are students struggling with a specific social-emotional skill in the classroom? There are many read-aloud choices that can help students develop the SEL skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in the real world.
So, here are book activities for important SEL topics.
- Kindness Activities For Kids
- Self-Esteem Activities & Books for the Classroom
- Teaching Growth Mindset with Books
- Books Teaching Respect and Manners
- Empathy Activities For Kids
- Friendship Lessons & Book Activities
- Self-Regulation Lessons for Children’s Books
Whether students need help with empathy or are struggling with a growth mindset. Using read-alouds and book companion activities can help strengthen their social-emotional skills and help them become better students, friends, and eventually adults.
Social-Emotional Book Companions
Book companions are resources to accompany the stories you read. Therefore, using them helps teach students social-emotional skills and ensures they learn everything they can from the books you share.
Free Kindness is a Kite String Book Companion
Try using a social-emotional book in the classroom with this FREE Kindness book companion for the book Kindness is a Kite String.
This social-emotional learning resource includes book chat questions, a kindness writing prompt, directing drawing, and kindness calendar kit.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
Social-Emotional Book Companion Bundle
Are you looking to make your SEL read-alouds more meaningful? Try the Social-Emotional Book Companions Bundle by Proud to be Primary. Students will enjoy listening to a great selection of picture books as they learn valuable SEL skills.
Each book companion has over six activities, including writing prompts. book activities and book discussion questions focused on comprehension and social-emotional skills.
Are you looking for a specific social-emotional book companion? Check out all of the book companions available right here!
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