Caring research and ideas to develop caring learners
- Caring research
- Using literature to promote caring
- Sample book activity to promote caring
- Six more books with themes & questions
- Additional activities to promote caring
- Book list for with caring themes
- See also - Child Develoment Project (CDP)
Who's responsibility is it to facilitate the development of learners who care? In a democracy where everyone is responsible for the well being of everyone, the answer, everyone, seems obvious. While many curricula include goals and outcomes for caring, the use of literature is supported by research. This page includes caring research, a review of bibliotherapy (to support the use of literature to strengthen caring, not to suggest its use by those who aren't qualified therapists), sample activities for school and home supported by research.
To advocate a caring school or to include caring in the curriculum does not advocate caring as a substitute for learning or a rigorous curriculum. However, a rigorous culture of learning can not be established without first establishing a caring climate. Which is created by providing an atmosphere with the value of caring embedded into all relationships.
Caring is not a program, it is not reserved for special times of the day, nor is it reserved for special people such as counselors or grief specialists. It must be modeled and taught as a way to approach self, group, community, politics, society, and care for our Earth in a sustainable manner, so it becomes internalized as a value to be used by all in our decision making and actions.
The Lilly Endowments Research Program on Youth and Caring has funded research. The following information is some of their findings.
- Variables that impede the development of caring include: poverty, dangerous and depleted neighborhoods, crowded and unhealthy living conditions, inadequate schools, limited access to health care, single and teen parenthood, violence among youth, trauma of parental alcoholism.
- One close supportive bond within the family seems to buffer children against the risks listed above. This protective measure transcends ethnic, class, geographical, and historical boundaries. This perception of a meaningful, caring relationship with ones family was the strongest of the variables that correlated with emotional health.
- Werner found that 51% who adapted successfully to adulthood from the trauma of parental alcoholism relied on a significantly larger number of sources of support and religious coping than did those who were not successful. Furthermore, the successful had at lest one person who accepted them unconditionally.
- The attributes that lead to the development of a greater moral development of caring was related to the individuals perception of self as incorporating the ideals and image of ones parents, and the ability to articulate theories of self in which personal beliefs and philosophies are important. It was not related to an increased capacity for moral reasoning.
- Studies showed the youth programs with the following attributes were effective at conveying caring to participants: 1) create an atmosphere where the young feel welcome, respected, and comfortable; 2) provide opportunities for the development of caring relationships with adults and peers; 3) provide information, counseling, and expectations that enable young people to determine what it means to care for themselves and to care for a definable group; and 4) provide opportunities, training, and expectations that encourage young people to contribute to the greater good through service, advocacy, and active problem solving on important issues.
- Results from some studies confirm the ideas that providing opportunities to care helps learners develop caring behaviors for the long term.
In summary the critical components of caring are:
- Personal positive self-esteem.
- Social involvement or interpersonal skills: communication, cooperation, negotiation, sharing, empathizing, and listening.
- Respect for humaneness of others.
- Social process skills: responsibility, adaptability, flexibility, and integrity.
- A positive response of those receiving the caring.
- Caring involves the need for individuals to project the feelings of others. There is evidence that babies and small children react to the suffering of other people, suggesting a biological or genetic link. There is also evidence that a certain part of the brain (orbital frontal cortex) is a module for social thought. There is also evidence of child developmental that affects the ability to care. The following is a list of related information.
- Autistic people do not have the ability to read other peoples minds. If they see a person put an object into a box and leave the room while another person moves the object from the box, they believe the returning person will know where the object is. They do not believe others can think differently. They do not lie. They tell the truth or fantasy. They are frightened by the unpredictability to understand others.
- Williams syndrome is when a person has a very high language and social skill ability, however their logical reasoning ability is retarded. Many times a discussion with a person would leave you to believe they are very intelligent, however they are incapable of solving simple everyday problems with logic.
- Children develop a concept of self shortly before the age of one. Small children looking into a mirror do not know the image is theirs. Later they realize the image is theirs.
- Once the existence of self is developed the existence of others follows. At first this existence may be what the person believes it is according to their view (egocentric).
- Children later realize that others can have a different point of view than theirs.
- Still later people realize that people have a different point of view than theirs and it is all right as long as it does not harm others.
- See also - Child Develoment Project (CDP)
To develop a strong sense of moral caring people must have:
- Strong perceptions of their personal capabilities.
- Strong perceptions that they contribute in important relationships in meaningful ways and are needed.
- Strong perceptions of personal power or influence over life.
- Strong intra personal skills to understand their personal emotions and to have self-discipline and self-control.
- Strong interpersonal skills to work with others and develop friendships through communication, cooperation, negotiation, sharing, empathizing, and listening.
- Strong process skills to be able to respond to everyday life consequences with responsibility, adaptability, flexibility, and integrity.
Caring and behavior
- Dreikurs was concerned about people who want to win over children rather than to win children over. Winning over children makes them losers, and losing generally causes children to be rebellious or blindly submissive.
- The common practice of adding humiliation to a logical consequence, because of the mistaken belief that children wont learn unless they suffer for their mistakes, violates the basic concept of mutual respect and changes logical consequences to punishment.
- Dreikurs explained that children are good perceivers, but poor interpreters. Much of this poor interpretation seems to be caused by the egocentricism of children. For example when an adult gives more attention to another child, the child perceives it as something negative toward them since they are not doing something with them.
- Alfred Adler, an Australian Jew who had to leave his native land during Nazi persecution, believed that a concept of gemeinschaftsgefuehl is essential for all humans to develop. There is not a good translation, but a close translation is social interest. His ideas meant that individuals had a real concern for ones fellow person and a sincere desire to contribute to society. That is caring.
A story told by Kristin R. Prancer in Individual Psychologist also helps describe these ideas. Once there were two brothers who shared a farm. One brother was married and had five children. The other was not married and had no family. The one brother was thinking one night that it was surely not fair that the other brother was doing the same amount of work and equally sharing the profit. He decided that tomorrow he would offer him two-thirds. The other brother was also thinking and thought it was not fair that his brother was receiving only half the profit since he had a wife and five children for which to care. He decided that tomorrow he would offer him two-thirds. This is social interest or caring.
People who have the mistaken goal of excitement and desire to do things for a high or the fun of it, even though it may be harmful or hurtful to them self or others, have not learned caring.
A review of bibliotherapy is provided to support the use of literature to develop caring.
Bibliotherapy is the use of literature to treat mental, emotional, and nervous disorders. However, using literature to promote caring is different. Bibliotherapy should be reserved for professionals who are trained in it as a therapy. However, knowing about it can be beneficial. The following information is provided as a review.
Bodart defined bibliotherapy. (Ed 225-828)
"A process of dynamic interaction between the personality of the reader and literature-interaction which may be utilized for personality assessment, adjustment, and growth."
While not effective for all children some may begin to understand themselves better and control their psychological needs as a result of their interactions with literature.
Bodart has identified three steps that the reader goes through to benefit from a bibliotherapy process (Ed 225-828).
- Identification - the reader associates himself or herself with a character or situation in a book.
- Catharsis - the reader shares the feelings and motivations of the books character.
- Insight - the reader realizes his or her situation can be dealt with more effectively by imitating or adapting the ideas from the reading material.
Research in bibliotherapy has shown student improvement in the following areas:
- Problem solving ability
- Ability to identify socially accepted behaviors
- Personal adjustment
- Values development
- Interpersonal relationships
- Acceptance of people different from themselves
- Reading achievement
According to Cornett and Cornett (1980) the bibliotherapeutic process can create the following changes:
Affective (attitudes, values, emotions) in the readers.
- Promote empathy
- Create positive attitudes
- Produce personal and social adjustment
- Develop positive self-image
- Relieve emotional pressures
- Develop new interests
- Promote tolerance, respect, and acceptance of others
- Encourage realization that there is good in all people
- Help readers to identify socially accepted behaviors
- Stimulate the examination of moral values, which results in character development
- Create a desire to emulate models
Cognitive (intellectual, reasoning, thinking) changes on the reader.
- Stimulate critical thinking such as analysis, drawing conclusions and implications, making decisions, solving problems, making judgments
- Give perspective to problems so that they can be put into proper proportion; reader sees universality of problems
- Provide vicarious experiences
- Provide insight into human behavior and motives
- The reader develops the ability for self-evaluation
- Challenge the reader to consider higher-level reasoning
- Encourage planning before taking a course of action
- Permit discussion on an impersonal level
- Reveal that problems have many alternative solutions and individuals have choices in solving problems
Bibliotherapy intervention by: 1. teachers, 2. parents, 3. librarians, and 4. counselors should not substitute for long-range therapeutic intervention by a psychologist or psychiatrist, that may be needed for an individual to resolve deep-seated problems, even though it may be one of the many techniques used by these specialists.
Preparing for bibliotherapy (Bodart [Ed 225-828]).
- Ascertain the true nature of a student or a students needs
- Select a book that meets those needs
- Prepare a plan of presentation that includes discussion and follow-up activities
Ways to determine a learners needs (Schultheis and Pavik. [Ed 163-493]).
- School records
- One-to-one conferences
- Conferences with parents or guardians
- Carefully constructed writing assignments, especially journal writings. Journal writing can offer students a means of revealing what is bothering them.
Guidelines for choosing a book according to Negin ([Ed 177-498])
- Determined the need
- Examine books and determine if they provide a fair picture of the problem. Ex: distorted pictures of handicapped
- Do not select books that are didactic, moralistic, condescending, or inaccurate
- Select books that involve the reader in the problem solving process
- Consider the literary merit of the book
- Realistic themes
- Consistent plots
- Non stereotypic characters
- Imaginative dramatic style
- Accurate settings
Steps for implementing bibliotherapy according to Schultheis and Pavlik ([Ed 163-493]).
- Establish the need
- Find the book
- Decide whether to use individual or group bibliotherapy
- Requires one-to-one sessions
- Time consuming
- Offers student the security of knowing that someone cares enough to listen
- Some students feel freer to express themselves in a one-to-one situation
- Allows interaction among the participants who share common needs or interests
- Provides security to students who feel uncomfortable if singled out for attention
- Allows for sharing of experiences which serves to lessen anxieties, promote feelings of belonging, and improve self-concept
- Lead students to appreciate others who are in some way different, thus aiding in social development
Common characteristics of bibliotherapy techniques found by Bodart ([Ed 225-823]).
- The student/students read a book (poetry, short stories, plays, or any other form of literature can be used.
- The teacher allows a certain amount of time for reflection on the book
- The book is discussed either by the student and teacher or by members of the group
- Interaction may continue even after the discussion, as the students continue to reflect on the material and expand and clarify the ideas.
Bodart suggests six discussion steps ([Ed 225-828]).
- Students retell the plot highlighting the feelings, characters, and situations relevant to the problem at hand.
- Ask questions that probe into what happened in the book in order to bring about a shift in feeling and relationship, thus making it easier for students to identify with the characters and situations
- Attempt to get the students to transfer the situation in the book to real life situation.
- Lead the students to explore the consequences of certain behaviors or feelings and recapitulate what happened as a result of those actions or feelings
- Provide opportunities for the group to draw conclusions or generalizations as to whether the actions in the book had positive or negative effects
- Create opportunities for the group to determine the desirability or effectiveness of several alternative actions in a specific situation
Bibliotherapy may be limited by:
- The readiness of the child to see himself in a mirror
- The therapists skill in directing the process through all the steps, especially the follow-up
- The degree and nature of the childs problem
- The availability of quality materials
- The manner in which the book is presented to the child
- The tendency of some students to rationalize away problems when reading about them
- The students and bibliotherapists realization of the limitations of the process, i.e., that problems cannot be fully resolved by merely reading about them.
- The ability of the student to transfer his insight to real life
- The tendency of some students to use literature as an escape, causing increasing withdrawal into a world of fantasy
- The interrelationship between the reader and the bibliotherapist
- The availability of courses and training programs in bibliotherapy
With that review, let's explore
Using literature to promote caring
Lets identify some assumptions about using literature to create caring, instructional strategies to use with literature to do so, question to analyze literature, getting parents and care givers involve, and sample activity for a book.
- People have a transaction with literature.
- The better the literature the better the transaction.
- Literature transactions can help people understand how different actions affect other people.
- Young children are more egocentric in their view of the world.
- As children develop they move from an egocentric view of the world to one in which they understand that other people may have views and feelings different from theirs.
- Childrens thinking changes from a classification of everything as right and wrong to one of right, wrong, and for somethings it depends.
- Children develop in their ability to understand that actions have consequences and the choices when making decisions are many times complex.
- Quality literature can be a view into how other people make decisions and the consequences which result from those decisions.
- Quality literature can increase communication about values.
- Peoples experiences with literature can positively affect people to make decisions that demonstrate a caring relationship.
- Moral development is a continuous process that needs attention through all grades and beyond.
Instructional strategies to promote caring with literature
- Questions and discussion must be conducted in a manner that is not preachy or overly didactic.
- Good questioning skills help students create the ideas themselves. Use care to suggest ideas rather than tell students what they should think. (see questioning strategies)
- Select literature that will engage students in a quality transaction is the key to motivate them to get involved.
- Dont rush to talk. Let the students begin the discussion. It is best to begin with their ideas. You might ask if they have questions or what would they like to discuss. If they ask a questions, turn it back to the class by asking what others think.
- Enjoy and appreciate students ideas and their communication. Let them speak freely and be careful not to pass judgment on their ideas.
- Be careful not to take sides or show alarm. Talking about temptations and dilemmas is part of value and moral development.
- Ask questions to facilitate discussion that focuses on how each character felt at different times throughout the literature.
- Ask questions and facilitate a discussion that causes students to relate their personal lives to the situations or characters in the literature.
- Ask questions and facilitate a discussions on how other people in real life are like the characters in the literature.
- Watch students nonverbal reactions to see how they feel.
- Make reading routine by setting aside a certain time each day.
- You may want to choose stories with certain goals in mind.
- You may want to share stories that are your favorites and let the students know they are and why. Its easy to get carried away when we like something so be careful to make good decisions about what and how much to share.
- Ask questions and facilitate a discussion to cause children to find ways that people who are significant in their life are similar to the characters or situations in the literature.
- Ask questions and facilitate a discussion that celebrates differences in the characters and the situations in the literature.
- Encourage students to discuss situations and characters in the literature with other people who are significant in their life. This will reinforce positive values and actions.
- Encourage interactions between students and their caregivers so students will realize how the caregivers care for each of them.
- Encourage interactions between students and their caregivers so students will realize how the caregivers care for other people in the community and world.
- Encourage interactions between students and their caregivers so students will develop a sense of what their caregivers value and how they developed their values.
- Encourage interactions between students and their caregivers so students will develop a sense of family history and relationships that developed over time through positive interactions.
Questions to analyze literature
- What do you want to share?
- What do you think will happen next?
- How do you feel about?
- What are you learning from the story?
- What are you learning about the way each character feels about each other?
- Do you think each character will change in the story?
- How is a character like you? How would you like to be like a character? How are you different than the character? How would you like to be different than the character?
- How would you want each character to change? Why?
- How do you think the character felt? How do you think the character felt when...? What caused you to believe that?
- How would you feel if that happened to you?
- What caused the character to make the decision they did?
- What caused the characters to be together for the story to happen or take place? Could this happen in real life? Could this happen in your life?
- What caused you to admire the character? or What caused you not to admire the character?
- What scene did you like best? What did you like about it? How did the author help you to better understand the scene?
- How did the character show (caring, kindness, fairness, ...) What did the character do or the author say to cause you to believe that? Why do you think the character did that or why the author had that happen?
- What are the advantages with being able to ... (have someone to care for, make choices, have freedom, being able to do something, ...) What are the disadvantages?
- How do authors make characters seem real?
- What would you like to ask the character? What do you think the characters answer would be?
- What do you think was important in the literature? Why was it important for...? What could have happened differently? How would that have changed the story or the character?
- How would life be different for the characters in the story after the events in the story.
- Is the way the character lives different than the way you live? What do you think about that difference. Would you want to visit the place the character lives? Would you want to live at that time, place, or manner? Why?
- What differences did the characters have? How were these differences celebrated or how did the differences create a conflict?
Getting parents & care givers involved
After the class has shared a piece of literature it is helpful to have learners go home and discuss what the story was about, how the characters felt, how the child felt about the characters, the situation or decisions that were made, and have their feelings and values supported by their parents or care givers.
Sample for John Jermey Colton I would start with a book note sheet, read the story, discuss the story with students, then edit the activity sheet according to how the discussion went, print it, copy it, and send it home for dinner.
If parent or care giver feedback is desired, include the care giver feedback sheet and have the students bring it to school the next day.
Suggestions for parents, care givers, & home correspondence
First, notify parents and care givers of the plan for their child to share literature that is being read or viewed in school with them at home. Include a general description of a discussion process and a summary sheet for a piece of literature and possible topics.
Discussion process & suggestions
General suggestions to make it an enjoyable dinner table type conversation, rather than a homework assignment. Review instructional strategy ideas
Let the child talk freely. Intervene only when its necessary to focus on the book or the theme.
- Ask to explain what the story was about.
- Ask about the focus questions or ask their child to describe the focus topic.
Focus on the characters.
- Ask about the main character.
- What happened to the main character?
- How do you think the character felt when an incident happened? What made them feel that way?
- How you think the character felt at the end of the story? What made them feel that way?
Depending on the age of the student those three might be enough. For older children you might try.
- Describe how character felt about incident an the beginning of the story and at the end. What made her/him feel that way and why did she/he change?
- What experiences have you had when you might have felt like character in the beginning of the story and at the end?
- What can people do to cope with situations like characters?
Theme - Heroes
Sample book activity
I read John Jeremy Colton. by Bryan Leech and we discussed the themes and question included in the review sheet. I hope you can find some time to have a dinner style conversation with your learner about the ideas you find interesting and important you would like to share with them.
Leech, Bryan Jeffrey, (1994). John Jeremy Colton. New York, NY: Hyperion Books For Children.
Although shunned by his neighbors because of his oddly colored house, John Jeremy Colton proves he is capable of being a hero in a time of crisis.
Themes on which to focus
- People may not be what we think they are.
- Heroes appear in the least likely places.
- Anyone could be a hero.
- What is a hero?
Start with some general questions.
- What book was read and what it was generally about.
- What did you like about it?
- What didn't you like about it?
Follow up with some more specific questions
- What did John Jeremy feel like when the children did not return?
- What did the children feel like when they were not allowed to return?
- How did Mrs. Hythe-Potter feel when she was on the roof?
- How did Mrs. Hythe-Potter feel at the end?
- What caused her to change her mind?
- How did the other towns people feel?
- What's a hero?
If you can find a few minutes, I would appreciate some brief information about your experience.
Briefly describe your childs reaction to this Literature.
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
Please return this page.
Six more books with caring themes & questions
Eve and Smithy an Iowa tale. Edwards, Michelle. (1994) New York: NY. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. Smithy tries to think of a gift for Eve his neighbor who gardens and paints pictures in Iowa.
Themes on which students can focus:
- People can be friends at any age.
- Modern art can be enjoyed by anyone.
- Presents are gifts of love and caring.
- We can all enjoy different things.
- We can help and care for people in different ways.
- How did Eve and Smithy feel about each other?
- How did Eve and Smithy demonstrate those feelings?
- Do you know people like Eve and Smithy?
- Do you think Eve and Smithy cared for the gifts they exchanged?
- What was the most important thing that Eve and Smithy had?
Emma Bean. Leeuwen, Jean Van & Juan Wijngaard. (1994) New York: NY. Dial Book for Young Readers. Emma Bean, a homemade toy rabbit, joins Molly at birth and shares her trials and triumphs as she grows from infant to girl.
Themes on which students can focus:
- Objects become what we make them.
- What made Emma Bean special?
- What makes things special for you?
- How did Molly feel when ... pick a time eat green beans, when they played rabbit, when she would dress her, wanted to run away from home, when she went to school for the first time, when she met Sara Louise ... or choose another time.
- How did other characters in the book feel, Grandmother, Father, Mother... at different times.
A Game of Catch. Wilbur, Richard & Barry Moser. (1994) New York: NY. Harcourt Brace & Company. Three boys play a game of catch until one begins to feel left out and looks for a way to fit in again.
Themes on which students can focus:
- People want to belong.
- We all enjoy different things.
- We help and care for people in different ways.
- Possible questions:
- Stop when Schoo asks to play catch and ask the students what they think Schoo, Monk, and Glennie are thinking.
- Stop again after Schoo misses a catch and the boys are going to take turns for five minutes. Discuss predictions and how each boy may feel.
- Discuss at the end of the story how each person may have felt.
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm. Nolen, Jerdine and Mark Buehner? (1994). New York, NY: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. A child ventures out in the middle of the night to see how Harvey Potter grows his wonderful balloons.
Themes on which students can focus:
- Some people are afraid of what they dont understand.
- People enjoy what other people do for them.
- How did Wheezle Mayfield feel?
- How did the town people feel?
- How did Harvey Potter feel when he gave his balloons to others?
Can you find a rabbit, tyrannosaurus rex, a cat, a chicken, a cow, and a pig hidden in each illustration?
I Want to Be. Moss, Thylias & illustrations by Jerry Pinkney (1993). New York: NY. Dial Book for Young Readers. After some though a young girl describes in poetic terms the kind of person she wants to be.
Themes on which students can focus:
- People want to be many things.
- What do you want to be?
- Do you get tired of people asking you the question "What do you want to be?
- Why do you think people ask you that question?
Flip-Flop Girl. Paterson, Katherin., (1994). Dutton: NY. Lodestar Books. Uprooted following the death of their father, nine-year-old Vinnie and her brother, Mason, cope in different ways- one in silence- but both with the help of Lupe, the flip-flop girl.
Themes on which students can focus:
- Different people cope with grief differently.
- Different people cope with death differently.
- Different people cope with moving differently.
- Peer pressure can cause people to overlook some people as friends.
- This book gives ample opportunity for questions about any of these themes.
- Questions about why Vinnie would act the way she did at a variety of times.
- Questions about how she felt when her father died, when her brother bothered her, when she moved, when she had to leave her one friend behind, when she went to a new school, when Heather would not be her friend, when she met Lupe, and after she found out about Lupes father...
- How Mr. Paxton felt about her at different times from the beginning to the end (particularly why he reacted the way he did about the barrettes and his car).
- How her mother and grandmother felt about her.
- How students feel about her actions.
I Never Knew Your Name. Garland, Sherry, (1994). New York: NY. Ticknor & Fields Books for Young Readers. A small boy laments the lonely life of a teenage suicide whose neighbors didnt even know his name.
Themes on which students can focus:
- Getting to know people takes time and effort.
- Why do people not take the time or effort to care for people?
Meet Danitra Brown. Grimes, Nikke, (1994). New York: NY. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. Childrens poetry, Afro-American, and city.
Themes on which students can focus:
- Conflict resolution
- Single parent
- Stories to tell
- Name calling
- How do you think Danitra Brown is able to be so strong?
Additional activities to promote caring
- Share a piece of literature that focuses on a persons contribution through their job. Have students create interview questions to go home and interview an adult about their occupation and the product or service they provide. Focus on how their jobs provide satisfaction both through what they do and what they provide to the community.
- Share a piece of literature that focuses on music. It might be a story about a composer, a poem, or a song which students like. Have the students create interview questions to go home and interview an adult. They might want to focus on present tastes in music, tastes the adult had when they were the students age, how music has changed over a period of time, how music is still the same, or what is it about music that people enjoy.
- Select a book that has an event that people in the childs life would have lived during its occurrence. Have the students write interview questions and interview people who know about the event.
- Select a place in the community that has the same setting and visit it. Have students prepare interview questions to interview people about how they feel about the setting. When students return to class have them discuss the similarities and differences between the literature and the real life setting. Make a chart and list each character in a separate box. Have the students record what they learned about each character as they read or share the literature. Teachers can create their own to share with students also.
- Make a character map for the main character and maybe an important minor character. Mark the important events along a time line for the story. Have students share what they thought was important and why. Teachers can create their own to share with students also.
- Have students make a list of what they liked about the literature and did not like. Have students make a list of what they liked about certain characters or did not like about them.
- Write an advertisement for the piece of literature and tell why everyone should get to know a character.
Book list for with caring themes
- Me First, Helen Lester. (1992). Scholastic, Pinkerton learns a lesson about always being first from the Sandwitch.
- The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pigs. Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury. (1993). Scholastic. A nonviolent ending with pig and wolves truly living happily ever after.
- The Art Lesson, Tomie de Paola. Putnam Publishing, 1989. Autobiographical. Tomie is discouraged by his first school art experience until he is able to create his own works.
- Arthurs Teacher Trouble, Marc Tolon Brown. Atlantic Monthly, 1986. Arthur is afraid of his new teacher. After excelling in a spellathon, he wins his praise.
- The Berenstain Bears Trouble at School, Stanley Berenstain and Jane Grant Berenstain. Random House, 1986. Brother is absent from school due to a cold and misses instruction in division and a soccer match. After he skips school, he learns it is never to late to correct a mistake.
- Crow Boy, Taro Yashima. Viking Press, 1955. A very quiet boy walks down from the mountains to attend school. He is ridiculed for his interest only in observing nature. A teacher takes interest in him, and helps him demonstrate his own special skills.
- First Grade Jitters, Robert M. Quackenbush. J.B. Lippincott, 1982. Scared of school, a young rabbit develops the jitters. Fears are allayed when a friend explains meeting the teacher and tells that the teacher doesnt expect them to be able to read and write yet.
- First Grade Takes a Test, written by Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1981. The first grade takes its first multiple choice test. A gifted child is then identified and leaves the class, only to return when she misses her classmates.
- The Girl Who Knew It All, written by Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Leslie Morrill. Delacorte Press, 1979. A girl covers up her reading deficiency, but finally admits she needs help.
- Grover Learns to Read, written by Dan Elliot, illustrated by Normand Chartier. Random House, 1985. Afraid that his mother will stop reading aloud to him, Grover hides his growing ability in his own reading skills.
- Id Rather Stay Home, written and illustrated by Carol Barkin and Elizabeth James. Raintree Publishing, 1975. This story is about the tensions of the first day of school.
- Jim Meets the Thing, written by Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1982. Jim is afraid of The Thing, yet he is the only one who will move a praying mantis.
- Louis James Hates School, written and illustrated by Bill Morrison. Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Louis James quits school for glamorous jobs. After he fails at skywriting for misspelling and driving an ambulance for not being able to read the signs, he decides to go back to school.
- Morris Goes to School, written and illustrated by Bernard Wiseman. Harper Row, 1970. Morris, the moose, goes to school. Silly but fun.
- My Mom Cant Read, Muriel Novella Stankek, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers. Albert Whitman, 1986.Tina has trouble learning to read and her mom doesnt help. After confessing her inability to read, Mom learns to read along with Tina.
- No Good in Art, Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1980. Upset by criticism, Jim is afraid to paint until the contagious enthusiasm of the rest of the class, which is generated by the new art teacher.
- See You Tomorrow, Charles, Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1983. Charles is a blind boy whose classmates learn to look beyond his handicap to his capabilities.
- Six New Students, Franz Brandenberg, illustrated by Aliki. Greenwillow, 1978. The Fieldmouse children all declare they dont like different school subjects, but Ferdinand, the first grader, says he doesnt like all of them. The teacher had him do his work in context and he loves it. An easy-to-read book with short "chapters".
- So What?, Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1983. Jim learns that some things are easy for some people and hard for other people.
- Sometimes I Dont Like School, Paula Z. Hogan, illustrated by Pam Ford. Raintree Publishers, 1980. George avoids his problems in math rather than seeking help. Admitting the problem helps him solve it.
- Sometimes I Hate School, Carol Barkin and Elizabeth James. Raintree Publishing, 1975. Two boys are upset about a substitute teacher and the change in routine. A male primary teacher is featured.
- Today Was a Terrible Day, Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Susanna Natti. Vicking Press, 1980. Ronald has a terrible day because he is in the "dumb" reading group, and feels inferior and incompetent. In the end he reads a note from the teacher successfully.
- What if the Teacher Calls on Me?, Alan Gross, illustrated by Mike Venezia. Childrens Press, 1980. A boy worries about being called on in class, practices the answer, then while daydreaming about it, is caught answer less.
- When Will I Learn to Read?, Miriam Cohen and illustrated by Lillian Hoban. Greenwillow, 1977. Through Jims experiences, this book provides encouragement for those impatient children who are anxious to learn to read.
|Anholt, Catherine & Laurence.||All Bout You.|
|Blegvad, Lenore.||Anna Banana and Me.|
|Brown, Laurene Drasny, and Marc Brown.||Dinosaurs Divorce. Boston: Little Brown Co.|
|Hoban, Russell.||A Baby Sister For Frances.|
|Hogan, Paula.||Will Dad Ever Move Back Home? : Raintree.|
|Jordan, Mary Kate.||Losing Uncle Tim? Whitman Pub.|
|Kenny & Krull.||Sometimes My Mom Drinks Too Much. Milwaukee, WI: Raintree.|
|Kraus, Robert.||Leo the Late Bloomer.|
|Martin, Bill, & Archambault, John.||Knots on a Counting Rope.|
|Miles, Miska.||Annie and the Old One.|
|Rathman, Peggy.||Ruby the Copycat.|
|Schlein, Miriam.||Just Like Me.|
|Viorst, Judith.||Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.|
|Waber, Bernard.||Ira Sleeps Over.|
|Bourgeois, Paulette and Brenda Clark.||Franklin is Lost.|