Professional Development

February 11, 2023

10 Books to Teach Social Skills to Kids + a FREEBIE

No matter what grade you teach in elementary, helping students develop strong social-emotional skills is always a part of your unspoken curriculum. Helping our young students grow into confident, kind adults can be done in so many different ways. One of my favorite ways to do this is to use books to teach social skills.

I know we don’t have unlimited time during the day to cover everything we need to. This is where interactive read alouds come in. Not only can we teach reading strategies through read alouds, but we can help kids develop social skills through characters and stories. Kids often relate so well to what they see and read in books.

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Today I’ll share 10 great books to teach social skills that may also lend themselves to teaching reading skills and strategies like making predictions, making connections, visualizing, and more! Plus, I have a free interactive read aloud lesson download for you with four days of activities!

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook

This is a cute book about a boy who just can’t help but interrupt. He learns how it feels when others begin to interrupt him. By the end, the boy has a creative way to hold in his interruptions until it’s an appropriate time to talk. This is a great book for when your class is struggling with interrupting or for the beginning of the year!

The Bad Seed by Jory John

I love this book for reminding and encouraging students that they can turn a bad attitude or a bad day into a better, more positive mood or day.

The Sour Grape by Jory John

This author has so many good books to teach social skills to kids! In this book, a young grape holds grudges and complains all the time. When someone else is sour towards him, he realizes how his attitude affected others. This book helps teach students to communicate and share feelings rather than hold grudges against others.

Pete the Cat and the New Guy by James and Kimberly Dean

I don’t know about you, but any Pete the Cat book is almost guaranteed to be loved by students in my classroom. This is a great book about accepting the uniqueness of others and yourself and that our differences are what makes us all cool. I love this book for the beginning of the year!

Spaghetti in a Hotdog Bun by Maria Dismondy

In this story, a little girl is teased because she is different. But when the teaser himself needs help, the girl has the courage to do the right thing and be true to herself by helping. (By the way, when you subscribe to the yearly membership of The Read Aloud Library, you’ll get read aloud lessons, vocabulary activities, and reading response pages for this awesome book!).

Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes

Who doesn’t love a Kevin Henkes book?! In this book, Sheila Rae and her little sister Louise learn some valuable lessons about being brave like everyone can be brave, it’s okay to be afraid, and bravery can come in different forms.

The Pout-Pout Fish and the Worry-Worry Whale by Deborah Diesen

Do you have worriers in your class? This book helps students relate to a whale who worries and the Pout-Pout Fish who helps her work through some ideas on how to not feel so overwhelmed. This is a great book for younger students who may struggle with worrying and anxiety, especially about new situations.

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

This book tackles the serious issue of bullying in a more light-hearted way for younger students. There is a mean recess queen, but when a new student comes along, she challenges the recess queen with kindness. This book opens the door for discussions on bullying, kindness, and empathy.

How Full is Your Bucket? by Mary Reckmeyer and Tom Rath

I love this book for both the beginning of the year and when my students need a little encouragement to be kind to each other. This book helps students think about kind and unkind behaviors as either bucket-filling or bucket-draining for each other and ourselves.

A Bad Case of the Tattle Tongue by Julia Cook

Do you have students who are struggling with tattling? If so, I’d definitely add this as one of your books to teach social skills. This book helps students understand the difference between tattling versus telling when something is important or dangerous. I love it for helping students learn how to problem-solve in social situations.

A FREE Read Aloud Lesson to Help Teach Social Skills

One great way to use books to teach social skills in the classroom is through interactive read alouds. Not only can you teach the social skill, but you can also teach important reading strategies and skills.

The Tattle Tongue Read Aloud Lesson has everything you’ll need for a successful read aloud lesson on tattling and making predictions. It has a pacing guide to help you plan out your making predictions activities and lessons over four days.

Then, there is a detailed, scripted lesson plan so you know exactly what to teach. It also has pre-filled printable sticky notes for you to place in your book so you know exactly where to stop and teach.

It also includes vocabulary cards and an activity to reinforce learning new words to help build reading comprehension. making predictions with other read alouds. You can use the flip books to monitor learning as students make predictions or as an informal assessment.

Finally, there is a super fun craft for students to complete that serves as a cute display and lets students write about their predictions. They’ll love it!

You can get your free read aloud lesson by entering your name and email address below. I’ll send it right to you!

Looking for More Done-For-You Read Aloud Lessons?

If you want to have even more read aloud lessons at your fingertips without the stress and hassle of planning them, I can help. The Read Aloud Library is your solution to saving time and delivering effective, powerful read aloud lessons to boost your students’ reading comprehension.

Read Aloud Library Membership Spread 2

Each month, members of The Read Aloud Library receive:

  • 6 Interactive Read Aloud Lesson Plans that teach a reading skill or strategy, a sticky note template with teacher prompts ready to go for the book, and a 3-4 day pacing guide for each book
  • Vocabulary cards, student vocabulary activity page, and vocabulary sticky notes with words and definitions for each lesson
  • 12 Student Reading Response Notebook Activities
  • 2 Reading & Writing Crafts that coordinate with 2 of the lessons
  • Easily Accessible Organized Digital Library of Lessons
  • Exclusive access to the Reading Strategy and Skill Video Library

Learn more HERE!

You’ll be totally set for all of your read aloud lessons and activities. Some lessons will include more books to help teach social skills, too! I’d love to get these lessons in your hands today!

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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