BLOGS  >  DECEMBER 16, 2021

Support Social and Emotional Learning with #ClassroomBookADay


Some of the most common requests I see in conversations from those looking for new picture books for #ClassroomBookADay read-alouds are related to social and emotional topics. Let’s be real: we’re all working with children in confined settings, so there are bound to be interpersonal issues that arise. It’s the nature of what we do as educators.

Along with that, it is part of our job to help those same children figure out how to handle these types of situations. And that is when I turn to books.

But what does social and emotional learning really mean? What books should we be looking for to support these life skills? The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Clearly these are also goals for our classrooms and several are goals I established early on for #ClassroomBookADay: building community, developing empathy, and helping process emotions and reactions.

Soon after I committed to reading aloud a picture book each day, back when I was teaching seventh and eighth grade, I started to see the community being built around the stories that we were sharing. Not only that, but I saw how fluid and targeted I could be with my book selection as I was able to immediately respond to things I saw happening in the classroom, the hallways, the school, the town, the country and the world. Small and big, those things that happened could be addressed by the books I chose to share.

Whether trauma or drama, celebration or grieving, needing to be brave or needing to deal with emotions, history or current events, there was a book I could choose to help my students, and sometimes myself, work through it.

Picture books are valuable because they become the extra teacher in our classroom. They are the lessons to be learned about life. They are the lens through which we can see ourselves more clearly.

CASEL delineates five core competencies for SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Many picture books, since they are targeted for younger children as a general rule, deal with SEL topics because picture books are designed to teach through story, and young children (and the not-so-young) then have a less intimidating way to learn them.

SEL is about figuring out how to be human. And with these 20 picture book recommendations, I hope they will help your students as much as they have helped my students, and me as well.

See the Full List

Read all Jillian Heise #ClassroomBookADay articles on Follett Community.

Watch webinar recording presented by Jillian Heise, Building Community: #ClassroomBookADay Read Alouds.

Jillian Heise

Jillian Heise is a Grade K-5 Library Media Teacher in southeastern Wisconsin. She previously taught Grades 7-8 ELA in the Milwaukee area for 11 years and is board certified. Jillian is a passionate advocate for student choice in reading and the power of shared stories through #ClassroomBookADay picture book read-alouds. She brings her literacy expertise and knowledge of books to her role as Chair of the WSRA Children’s Literature Committee. You can find Jillian talking books and education at Heise Reads & Recommends and on Twitter at @heisereads.

Recent Blog Entries

Streamlining Resource and Device Tracking to Reduce Losses and Increase ROI

September 28, 2023

Device tracking and asset management are critical for Grades K-12 school districts. With the increasing value of computers, tablets, and other IT equipment, assets must be properly tracked to reduce loss from theft, mismanagement, or damage. The ability to track...
Read more

Decodable Texts: What You Need to Know

September 26, 2023

One essential component of early literacy instruction is the development of the alphabetic principle, the understanding that letters and letter patterns represent the speech sounds in our language. As young students learn to read, they are doing the hard work...
Read more

6 Ways Follett Destiny Resource Manager Can Address Pain Points in Your District

September 19, 2023

You appreciate the laptops, textbooks, musical instruments, sports equipment, and other valuable assets available to supplement your curricula and help you provide your students with a quality education. What you might not appreciate, however, is the time and energy required...
Read more

For the Love of REELy Great Books

September 18, 2023

If I had to check a box describing my relationship with reading as a classroom teacher, it would have to be It’s Complicated. I teach sixth grade in a Title I elementary school that was in school turnaround for a...
Read more

Q&A: Jason Udstuen on ESSER Funding

September 6, 2023

Billions of dollars in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds remain available for schools and districts to spend to address pandemic learning loss and invest in programs to open and operate safely. These emergency funds offer schools and...
Read more

Harnessing the Power of a Library Management System for Maximum Efficiency

September 5, 2023

With a library management system, libraries can maximize efficiency and organization. Unlike traditional manual cataloging systems, a library management system provides access to a range of services, including collection management, user authentication, resource discovery, and analytics. Leveraging a library management...
Read more

More Blog Entries