The Power of Picture Books: Maximizing the SEL-Literacy Connection in Turbulent Times

By Nancy Boyles

Soon after the world shut down last March and students fled the classroom to stay safe at home, teachers recognized the heightened need to address children’s social emotional (SEL) needs. These were strange, scary times: Were the kids okay? How were they faring away from their friends and teachers and the familiar routines of school? It was a scramble to reimagine school overnight, but teachers quickly saw the value of using picture books with SEL themes as part of their online instruction. Excellent, I thought. What a great way to connect thinking and feeling.

But in practice, it’s easy to fall into a few pitfalls that can lessen the impact of reading SEL-related picture books with students. Here are three tips to maximize the power of picture books to connect SEL and literacy whether teaching online or face-to-face in a classroom.

Continue reading “The Power of Picture Books: Maximizing the SEL-Literacy Connection in Turbulent Times”

Why Reading Aloud is the Perfect Distance Learning Strategy

By Laurel Schmidt

Teachers seem to have an extraordinary ability to make order out of chaos, particularly when it comes to rounding up dozens of free-range children who are loath to give up their freedom.  They plunge in where others fear to tread and the next thing you know, they’re presiding over a group of kids who are seated, listening and more or less ready to work. But this is a much bigger challenge when your students are somewhere out in cyberspace. So, what can you do to ensure that they’ll show up on time, be riveted from the first minute and eager to return for the next session?

Read aloud. That’s right. Open a book and start reading in your most spellbinding voice. Don’t hold back. Ham it up! Trot out some of those voices you only use in the privacy of your own head.

Continue reading “Why Reading Aloud is the Perfect Distance Learning Strategy”