National Adoption Day this November 22 and National Adoption Month this November afford a time to share experiences and reflect on families. Whether you have students who have been adopted or are part of a family considering adopting a child into your home, all children can benefit from learning about adoption. Children are very curious about each other’s families, quick to categorize into groups, and intent to define what makes a family, well, a family.
Picture books provide a medium to discuss, celebrate, and learn about adoption and exploring the definition of “family.”
- The Best Thing Guided Reading Lesson Plan by Lee & Low
- Chinatown Adventure Guided Reading Lesson Plan by Lee & Low
Discussion Questions during and after reading:
- What does “family” mean to you? How might the word mean something different to people?
- What does it mean to be adopted? What might be some challenges for a family with an adopted child or for a child who is adopted? What might be some benefits for a family who adopt a child or for a child who is adopted?
- How is this character’s family similar to and different from your own family?
- How do this character and family share and have fun together? What do you enjoy doing with your siblings and family members?
- How does the character feel at the beginning, middle, and end of the story? How does the main character change from the beginning to the end of the story?
- How would you describe this character’s relationship with his/her parent in the story?
- Learn more about the country from which the character is adopted. On which continent is the country located? What countries border this country? What language is spoken there? How many people live in that country? Who are some famous people from that country? Find a recipeof a food from this country to make.
- Share and reflect on this list of famous adoptees or adopters from TeacherVision by Beth Rowen.
- Draw a family portrait of your own family.
- Write a paragraph describing what makes your family unique and why you are proud of your family.
Further reading about adoption:
- Children’s Books About Transracial Adoption
- Why is Black Barbie Less Important? Talking to Kids About Race
- Books That Fit Your Definition of “American Family”
Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.