Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic, but it’s certainly not new. Skills like empathy, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships, recognizing and managing emotions, problem solving, approaching tasks with grit and perseverance, and taking on others’ perspectives have always, and will always, be crucial to kids’ success. Research shared by CASEL reports that SEL programs lead to “immediate improvements in mental health, social skills, and academic achievement,” and “up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics.” SEL is certainly worthy of time and attention from those who support children’s development.
Books are valuable tools for guiding conversations about SEL topics. Children can examine and learn from characters’ actions and experiences and relate them to their own. Of course, book selection is key. When kids see both themselves and others in diverse books, it says, “You matter. Reflect on your experiences.” and “Others matter. Listen and learn.” Therein lies the heart of SEL.
As students grow and change, so do their social emotional learning needs. Linking diverse books to SEL goals and challenges across different ages is a powerful way to support students as they navigate each developmental stage. This blog series, written by educator Lindsay Barrett, explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels.Continue reading →
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 ideas for read alouds that build relationships in Kindergarten. This month, educator Lindsay Barrett offers guidance on culturally responsive teaching in grade 1 through the intentional selection of texts for reading instruction.Continue reading →
Reading books with children at a young age not only helps them be better prepared for school, but it also opens their minds to new cultures and experiences. Exposing children in first grade 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 learning.
Lee & Low Books is a children’s book publisher specializing in diversity. We offers hundreds of great books for first graders, along with free teacher guides and lesson plans for each book! 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 all our books and collections for grades PreK – 2, and check out our other book lists by grade: Continue reading →
February is almost upon us! At Lee & Low, we believe that Black history is American history and should be celebrated and taught all year long. But February can be a great time to shine a spotlight on favorite books or freshen up a dated collection with new titles. Here are eight of our favorite Black History Month Books for kindergarten through second grade: Continue reading →
Jill Eisenberg, our Resident 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.
Through elementary school, readers will learn to compare and contrast within and between texts. By first grade, readers can practice comparing two texts as they continue to learn decoding, sight words, and vocabulary. Comparing and contrasting are useful because teachers can assess students’ abilities at close reading, comprehension, and interpretation, as well as expose even new readers to deeper interactions with a text.
Below is a comparison of two books of similar topic and genre. I have created sample questions to teach towards and check mastery of each of the three Common Core categories. These are by no means the only questions to ask in each category, but these provide an overview of the progression in question complexity and mastery of the texts.
By creating a range of compare and contrast questions across the standards, we are able to differentiate for students within a class, provide extension opportunities for ready learners, or move the whole class from literal- to higher-level thinking over the course of several lessons.