Using children’s books to teach social skills is an excellent way to engage students in topics they need to learn or practice. Many children’s books are easily available and often familiar to students. Most students (even older ones) enjoy stories read to them and are more motivated to learn the concepts than through direct teaching. Because stories are fun and pleasurable for many children, being read to feels like a leisure activity during class time. Students also tend to relate the emotions of the characters and can easily provide discussion into how they should think, feel, or act.

Not sure where to start? I have created 30 minute lessons plans with supporting activities and worksheets to get you started. This is the perfect way to introduce stories during circle time, social emotional learning time, or even as a sub plan when you want to reinforce concepts already talked about. Each lesson is connected to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Illinois Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Standards. There are even student centered “I Can” targets to share with students so they can easily understand the purpose of the lesson.

Skills for Learning

Having students ready for instruction is essential for learning to occur. When students are distracted or not available for instruction there are many missed opportunities that can hinder student success. These books help to teach students how to focus their attention and energy in the classroom. They are great books to use throughout the year so that you can remind students of your classroom expectations and give them tools to be able to engage in learning.

Empathy / Communication

Teaching students about their feelings is an important step in them understanding them. Very often young children can become overwhelmed by situations in the classroom and they react in ineffective ways. How often does tattling occur in your classroom? These books can help your students understand that there are things they can do to understand their own feelings and those of others. This is a great way to curb frequent tattling and help give tools for them to take the perspective of others.

Emotion Management

Students can understand and name feelings but have no ability to manage them when they experience them. These books teach students strategies to use to handle strong feelings. The lessons include practice of specific techniques and reinforcement when using them. These books are a great way to introduce the strategy and then follow up with additional tools (insert tools that teach link here) that can help.

Problem Solving / Conflict Resolution

Students experience conflict in the classroom. A student was not picked first in a game. Someone is not sharing. There were unkind words shared at recess. These are all things that students need to learn to handle. These books help to start the conversation about what they could do when they experience conflict at school.