Using Children’s Books to Effectively Support Social and Emotional Learning

To a child, books can be an effective tool to teach them about certain scenarios. When kids are told an interesting story with a lesson at the end, it can be more effective than simply trying to explain the lesson to them by itself. Stories are a great way to get through to young students, so it is important to choose the ideal book for each scenario.

Read Through it Yourself First

If you don’t read through a book ahead of time before reading it to your class, you may discover that it doesn’t fit the lesson as well as you thought or it could even be a bit boring to the students. Even if it is a book that you have read in the past, it is a good idea to reread it before using it in a new lesson. This is because you want to make sure the book is modern and will apply to your current students as much as it did with your past students.

Make Sure the Message is Clear and Easy to Understand

Each book should be selected for a specific lesson or situation for your class or for the child you’re reading to. If you read through the book yourself and find that the message may not be clear enough for your kids to understand, then keep searching. You want books to leave kids with something to think about and learn from, so if the book does not provide that, then it is just a cool story and nothing more than that for the kids.

Make Sure it’s Fun to Read 

Even if a children’s book has a good message, it may not be fun to read. You want to select a book that will be able to keep the attention of each child for the duration of the story. Look for books with interesting pictures and limited words on each page. If the book is not interesting enough, the kids may quickly lose interest and not retain the message of the story at all.

Make Sure it Will Appeal to All the Kids

If you are reading a book to an entire class of students and only a small number of them actually get something out of it, then it probably isn’t the most effective choice. Make sure you only select books that most or all your students will be interested in and learn from. Also, different age groups have different interests when it comes to reading, so make sure you choose a book that is ideal for the age group you’re teaching.


You can’t just pick up the first children’s book with a good message that you find because you have to make sure it is interesting and appropriate for the child’s grade level. There is a wide selection of children’s books with positive messages and good lessons to be learned. Therefore, when selecting a book to effectively teach kids about emotional or social situations, it is important to take your time to select one that will work best for the given topic. With so many children’s books published, there should always be one that will perfectly fit your needs if you look hard enough.

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