Below is a selection of back-to-school picture books with an idea about what each book has to say. (All available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.) Although these were written to prepare young children, there are insights to be gained by older children as well – even teens. Try reading these to your students, no matter what grade you teach.
Students of all ages can relate to what back-to-school means for siblings, cousins, neighbors.
Students of all ages can remember what back-to-school was like for them at younger ages.
As students are able to do more complex thinking, they can relate ideas in these “young” books to the current experiences of students at their age now.
Also, following the book titles, there are writing and discussion topics for you to use with your students.
BACK TO SCHOOL TORTOISE by Lucy M. George
Your child might be worried about going back to school, but with a little bravery and staying on track everything can work out just fine.
MOM, IT’S MY FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN by Hyewon Yum
Both mom and child may be worried those first few days of school, but the worry can come and fo, and you can help each other through it.
VERA’S NEW SCHOOL by Vera Rosenberry
You can make new friends in surprising ways at your new school – even if the day starts out looking like you will have trouble making new friends.
ELLA by Carmella and Steven D’Amico
It can be scary to go to a new school, especially if you are a little different than the other students. But, by being kind, helpful, brave, and true to yourself you can convince even bullies that you are a good friend.
HOW DO DINOSAURS GO TO SCHOOL by Jane Yolen
Dinosaurs – always interesting and funny to children – show both good behavior at school and not-so-good behavior at school.
EMILY’S FIRST 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL by Rosemary Wells
Learning numbers can be fun.
The following are writing prompts and discussion topics to use with your students about back-to-school.
What do you think it is like for young children to start school for the first time? How can adults and teachers make it easier for young children to start school for the first time?
What would you tell young children about the first days of school?
What is it like for students your age to go back to school? Include what you like and don’t like about it. How can adults and teachers help with the things students your age don’t like?
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
- For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
- Use the blog for discussion topics
- Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.
- For all courses, especially English Language Arts:
- Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
- Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
- Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
- What would be your advice on this topic?
- What was left out of this article?
- If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
- Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
- Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
- The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
- Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
- Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.