I share loads of children’s books here at What Do We Do All Day? and while you can read my tips for reading wordless books, or choosing chapter books I haven’t shared much about how to teach with children’s books. This is because I am not a trained teacher, I don’t homeschool and in our house we primarily read books, rather than do activities around them.
However, over the years many of you have asked me for more specific ways to use children’s books to enhance learning and how they can fit into a curriculum. I always defer to the experts and am doing so again, today. These resources for teaching with children’s books are written by the experts: qualified educators!
I chose the below resources for using children’s books as teaching tools because they reflect my values. In each of them, books are used as a catalyst to help children grow into caring members of the community. They emphasize kindness, diversity, serving others and emotional development. I know you will find them as wonderful as I did. (Note: this post contains affiliate links)
Open Hearts Open Minds by Meredith Magee Donnelly. This is a comprehensive curriculum for educators and parents who want to raise community-minded, open hearted, compassionate children. Donnelly’s book consists of 101 activities and 200 book recommendations for lessons that focus on everything from listening and empathy to being an activist and important historical moments. Lesson ideas are divided in two groups: activities and books for 3-7 year olds, and 7-11 year olds. I hope every school adopts this method of learning!
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Exploring Books Through Play: 50 Activities Based on Books About Friendship, Acceptance and Empathy. This book is a collaboration by a group of educators who strongly believe that play is the foundation of learning. For each of 10 picture books focusing on values such as taking care of one another, or how to be a good friend, the authors provide playful activities as a point of entrance into talking about the books’ themes.
Book Activity Calendars. I absolutely adore the idea behind these book activity calendars. Created by an educator and literacy specialist with over 20 years of experience, parents, librarians and teachers will love these calendars to enhance their children’s and students’ reading experiences. Each week has a different theme (for example “All About Me”) with a picture book selection and 5 different activities to go along with the book. The activities are very simple (no complicated crafts!) at all and the calendars actually make great no-stress homework assignments! Learn more at Growing Book by Book
Read Create and Share by Jodie Rodriguez is an excellent literacy resource for parents who want their children to learn how to serve others. Jodie uses specific books as the gateway to working on a creative project that serves as a catalyst for a service project through sharing with others in the community. The book is designed to get families through a year of reading, creating and serving. So there are 12 books, creative projects and sharing ideas.
I encourage you to look at all the the literacy resources at Growing Book by Book. Jodie has many more ideas for teaching with children’s books: printables for take home book bags, preschool literacy units and resources to help promote family literacy.