Do It Yourself May 2015

Social and Emotional Summer Learning

The school year is coming to a close and summer is right around the corner!  Summertime for most kids means no school, playing outside, going on trips, staying up late, and overall less structure.  As a parent, this could potentially be a nightmare.  For eight hours of the day, when kids are normally off at school, you have to figure out how to entertain them while making sure there is no learning loss before starting the next grade.

Reading is a great way to improve academics, but it also can be used to help build social and emotional skills. Whether reading to your kids daily or assigning books for them to read while on summer vacation – lots of social and emotional learning can take place over the summer months.  An easy way to encourage social and emotional skill building while reading is to ask your child some simple questions throughout or at the completion of a story.

Example Questions:

  • What emotion did you feel while reading this story? Were you anxious during the car chase?  Were you excited when the hero saved the day?
  • What emotions did the characters face throughout the story?
  • What are some of the character’s strengths, weaknesses?
  • Was the character able to control himself/herself during the conflict? How did he/she approach the conflict? Was he/she perseverant?
  • Did the character have to set a goal? If so what was the goal and how was it accomplished?
  • How would you feel if you were the character in the story?
  • Did anyone in the story have to make a compromise?

Here are some picture books along with a social and emotional focus areas to get you started:



Double-Dip Feelings:  Stories to Help Children Understand Emotions by Barbara Cain

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies by Stan & Jan Berenstain

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper



No, David by David Shannon

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail

Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Paulette Bourgeois

Cool Down and Work Through Anger by Cheri J. Meiners, M. Ed


Responsible Decision Making

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big by Berkeley Breathed

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires


Social Awareness

Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes


Relationship Skills

When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden

Zach Apologizes by William Mulcahy

The Day No One Played Together by Donalisa Helsley

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud