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 explores how diverse books can be used to support social emotional learning at different grade levels. Continue reading
It’s Back to School time, and that means new resources here on the Lee & Low Blog! In the first post in our new series on Culturally Responsive Teaching, educator Lindsay Barrett shares ideas for read alouds that build relationships in Kindergarten.
Nothing evokes a sense of “back to school” like a snaking line of tentative-but-excited, freshly scrubbed Kindergarteners slowly making their way down the school hallway. There is so much for new Kindergarten students to learn—how to open snack and lunch items, where to find the restroom, how to care for and share materials; the list goes on and on.
But seasoned Kindergarten teachers know that all of this is secondary to (and made easier by) helping each child quickly develop a sense of belonging to a community of learners. One of the ways to achieve this is to use culturally responsive teaching strategies right from the start of the Kindergarten year. (What is culturally responsive teaching? Check out this post.) A culturally responsive mindset emphasizes relationships. The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to establish these bonds. 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 kindergarten 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 kindergarteners! 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.
While we have hundreds of titles to choose from, here are eight of our absolute favorite diverse books for kindergarteners! Continue reading