Category Archives: Educator Resources

Lesson plans, activity guides, and helpful tips from our literacy specialist and guest educators.

Using Picture Books to Support Social Emotional Learning

using picture books to support social emotional learning

Today we are pleased to share this guest post from Librarian and Diversity Coordinator Laura Reiko Simeon on using picture books to support social and emotional learning (SEL)Welcome, Laura!

One day a new sixth grader walked into my school library, wandered over and gazed longingly at the picture book shelves, and then told me sadly that at her old school her teacher told her she wasn’t allowed to read them because they were below her reading level. I bit back my initial uncensored opinion of said teacher and mildly replied that the wonderful thing about picture books was that you could enjoy them at any age–and that no one here would stop her from borrowing whatever she liked!

This story connects to a project I developed that is currently in its seventh year. It’s taken various forms and spanned various grade levels from K-4 to K-8, but the goals have remained the same: Continue reading

Book List: 10 Children’s Books That Teach Empathy

Books That Teach EmpathyThe holiday season is upon us and we feel lucky to be surrounded by people that want to share in the togetherness and love that accompanies the colder months of the year, which is why we’re excited to share this roundup of books that teach about empathy.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, empathy is “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” Books allow us to put ourselves in another person’s (literary) shoes, and show readers how characters relate and navigate the relationships they have with others.

Continue reading

Classroom Guide for I Am Alfonso Jones

I Am Alfonso JonesLast month was the release of I Am Alfonso Jones written by Tony Medina and illustrated by Stacey Robinson and John Jennings. In this book, Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.

When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.

Accompanying our title is the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide, which offers resources and tips on how to guide discussions of race, racism, and social justice in the classroom. Our teacher’s guide also features summary and background information, prereading and discussion questions, ideas for reader’s response and writing activities, strategies for ESL/ELL, and interdisciplinary activities and connections. Below we’ve gathered a few prereading questions, discussion questions, activities, and resources from the I Am Alfonso Jones teacher’s guide.

Continue reading

Using the Rafi and Rosi Series in the Classroom

Last year, we brought back the beloved chapter book Rafi and Rosi series, which follows two Puerto Rican tree frog siblings as they explore their surroundings and learn about the traditions, animals, and environment of Puerto Rico. The series is available in both English and Spanish, and is a great way to introduce early readers to chapter books!  Continue reading

A Culturally Responsive Approach to Discussing Thanksgiving in the Classroom

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. Last week we explored going beyond “The Single Story”Today, educator Lindsay Barrett offers a culturally responsive approach to discussing Thanksgiving in the Classroom. 

Culturally Responsive Teaching Thanksgiving

Continue reading

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month + Poster Giveaway

November is Native American Heritage Month! Native American Heritage Month evolved from the efforts of various individuals at the turn of the 20th century who tried to get a day of recognition for Native Americans. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a resolution that appointed November as Native American Heritage Month. Continue reading

Culturally Responsive Teaching in Third Grade: Going Beyond “The Single Story”

In this ongoing series, we explore what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels and offer concrete examples and resources. Last month we explored bridging the familiar and unfamiliar in literature discussions for second grade. This month, educator Lindsay Barrett offers guidance on culturally responsive teaching in third grade by going beyond “The Single Story”.

Culturally Responsive Teaching Third Grade

Continue reading

Our 10 Favorite Multicultural Books for Fifth Grade

Reading books with children at the elementary age not only helps them better prepare for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children early to both “mirror” and “window” books – that is, books in which they can see themselves, and books in which they can learn about others- is the best way to create engaged readers and support social and emotional growth.

Lee & Low Books offers hundreds of great books for fifth graders. Our books include English, Spanish, and bilingual titles; books about many different cultures; books that span a wide range of subjects and themes; and both fiction and nonfiction. Browse our 3-6 classroom collections to see what we offer, and check out our other book lists by grade:

While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are 10 of our absolute favorite diverse books for fifth grade!

Favorite Multicultural Books for 5th grade
Continue reading

Social Emotional Learning Diverse Book List for Grades PreK-8

Social Emotional Learning book list

LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce the launch of our Social Emotional Learning Diverse Reading List for Grades PreK–8!

Social and Emotional Learning is the process in which people of all ages recognize and manage emotions, make appropriate decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop and maintain positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviors. Learn more about Social and Emotional Learning at Edutopia. Continue reading

The Importance of “Mirror Books” in the Classroom

The importance of mirror books in the classroom

In this guest post, teacher-in-training Anna Nardelli, a junior at Mount Saint Mary College earning her certification in early and elementary childhood, shares her firsthand experience connecting students to “mirror” books.

I have a passion for teaching children and believe that all children deserve the opportunity to see themselves in mirror books as well as seeing others in window books. Mirror books give children the chance to see a representation of themselves in a book. For some children, this is not a common occurrence, but when it happens it lets them know that this world is full of people who are just like them. Window books give children another outlook on the world. They may not get the chance to see different cultures outside of their everyday life, but through window books, they can travel and see the world. Continue reading