Teaching Students Interpersonal/Relationship Skills Using Mentor Texts

Mentor texts are wonderful for content areas like reading and writing… but what about Character Education and Social Emotional Learning?

I’d love to share with you some of my favorite books to give students a frame of reference when teaching them interpersonal/relationship skills.

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Because Amelia Smiled

by David Ezra Stein

It all starts with one smile from Amelia to Mrs. Higgins – the acts of kindness throughout this book perfectly illustrate that kindness is contagious, and that one small action can make a bigger difference than we think!

Our students sometimes may feel that they are “just one person,” but we can show them through this book that we ALL have kindness within us that can make a difference for lots of people.

If you are looking to integrate some of your reading standards into this week, this book is a perfect example of cause and effect!

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes

This book is about Lily the mouse who is so excited to have Mr. Slinger as a teacher. Lily disrupts class one too many times, and Mr. Slinger takes away her purse.

Lily gets angry, and writes a mean note that hurts her teacher’s feelings.

This story does a wonderful job of showing the emotions that go along with excitement, anger, frustration, and embarrassment. Lily provides your students with an example of how to resolve a conflict with an apology.

Often, our students think a simple “I’m sorry” is enough, but a heartfelt and genuine apology is more than that, and can mean so much during a conflict!

We’re All Wonders

by RJ Palacio

This book is about a little boy named August (Augie) who was born with qualities that make him look different than other kids.

Augie tells us we are all wonders – we all have something special about us. If we look at the world around us with our kindness “lenses,” we can see that our differences are actually what make us all amazing!

Through this book, your students will see that choosing kindness and acknowledging that our differences make us special will make their classroom, school, and world a better place!

Pig the Pug

by Aaron Blabey

This book is about a selfish and greedy pug named Pig. Pig has so many toys – more than he could ever play with at once – but refuses to share them with his friend Trevor.

Through this humorous story, you can talk with your students about how being greedy not only isn’t nice, but it can have consequences!

Up the Creek

by Nicholas Oldland

This story is about three best friends: bear, moose, and beaver. Together, they go on a canoe trip… but then they all start to argue and disagree with each other. Since they can’t agree on anything, they end up spending a night stranded on a rock and miserable!

They finally realize after a long night that working together, they can accomplish so much more than when they disagree and argue.

Through this story, we can teach our students the importance of working together, and that it is okay to politely and respectfully disagree with one another.

The Invisible Boy

by Trudy Ludwig

This story is about a boy named Brian. Nobody ever notices Brian – they don’t include him in groups, invite him to parties, or talk to him.

One day, Justin, a new boy, comes to school. Brian wants to make him feel welcome, so he befriends Justin. Through working on a class project together, Brian finds his voice and confidence!

Through this story, we can teach our students how to start conversations with people and that even quiet people have awesome ideas and things to say.

Pig the Winner

by Aaron Blabey

This story is about Pig the Pug and his friend Trevor. Pig has to win at everything he does, otherwise he throws a fit and his day is ruined.

To make sure he wins as much as he can, Pig is also a big cheater! When he wins, he turns into a not-so-nice bragger – who wants to play with someone like that?

Through this story, we can teach our students that good sportsmanship is an important quality to have when you are playing any kind of game, and that playing for fun is more important than playing to win.

Hattie and Hudson

by Chris Van Dusen

This story is about an adventurous little girl named Hattie. Every day, she goes exploring on the lake.

One day, she sees a mysterious beast that terrifies everyone in the town… except Hattie. She looks into the giant’s eyes, and names him Hudson. Everyone in the town plots to destroy Hudson because they think he is dangerous, so it takes Hattie to prove to everyone that Hudson is a friendly creature.

If Hattie had been a bystander instead of an upstander, who knows what would have happened to Hudson!

Through this story, we can teach our students that anyone can make a difference when they stand up for what they know is right.

Click below to find daily 15 minute activities to go along with EACH of these incredible mentor texts!

Have you read any other mentor texts that are beneficial when teaching students relationship skills?  Comment below – I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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