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Literacy Tips for Building a Kinder World

Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 17

This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.

Start by Teaching Kids to Love Themselves

My kindergartner mentioned the other day that a classmate of his was not kind to him. Although at first my emotions got the better of me, I paused and considered that perhaps that classmate needs a little love or doesn’t know how to make friends. As cliché as it may sound, sometimes all you need is love—and it is imperative that kids love themselves first so that they can take that love out into their world. If we teach this to our children, and model it ourselves, we will help create a kinder home, community, and beyond. Here are a few tips on how to do this at home while also promoting literacy and a love of learning.

Use Positive Affirmations and Powerful Quotes 

Start incorporating an affirmation into your routine once a week, or however often is best for your family. There are plenty of fun ways to introduce the affirmation, whether over a meal, or during journaling or art time. However you choose to bring it into your home, we love the simple formula of reading it, discussing what it means, writing or journaling about it, and drawing or creating art inspired by thoughts or feelings about the affirmation. You can also do this with your favorite quotes or sayings that are important to you. Some discussion topics might be: How does this affirmation or quote relate to being more kind to myself? Kind to others? Kind to the world? 

A Celebration of You: Connecting as a Family 

As a family, brainstorm ways that everyone can be more kind and loving to themselves. Remind your kiddos that if we are kind to ourselves and embrace who we are and how we feel, it is easier to take that kindness out into the world. What are some things that you can do as a family, or encourage one another to do individually, that help celebrate everyone’s uniqueness? Make a list and put some ideas into a jar, or write them on a calendar. Encourage your family to grab a “self-love” or “celebration of you” thinking prompt from the jar whenever the moment feels right. With any of these questions, kiddos can discuss, write, or draw their thoughts, feelings, and responses. Here are some prompts to help get you started: 

  • What is one thing that makes you feel happy? Why? 
  • Write a book about YOU and all that makes you RAD!
  • Tell a family member one reason why your brain is so super.  
  • Draw a picture of you and make sure to include things you love in the picture, too.  
  • Are you comfortable when people compliment you? Why or why not? 
  • What is your favorite hobby? Why? 
  • Which feeling is most uncomfortable for you? Why? 
  • Making mistakes means you are learning! How does this statement make you feel? 
  • It is okay to be upset! How does this statement make you feel? 

Turn To Your Books

There are many books about loving oneself that provide avenues for further discussion. Some specific books about self-love, embracing who you are, and being kind to yourself are: 

Book Cover Be You by Peter Reynolds

Be You!

Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynold

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Orchard Books | ISBN-13: 978-1338572315

Peter Reynolds has written many great books. This one is special because it is about embracing who you are, not conforming, and being your authentic YOU! The more we love who we are, the easier it is for us to be kind to and spread love to others.  

Buy the Book

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Book Cover Chrysanthemum


Written and Illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | ISBN-13: 978-0688096991

Chrysanthemum, an adorable little mouse, loves her unique name until she goes to school and others make fun of it. Someone comes into her life that helps her remember why she loves her name and that she should be proud of it—among many other things!  

Buy the Book

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Oliver Button Is a Sissy Book Cover

Oliver Button Is a Sissy

Written and Illustrated by Tomie DePaola

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 978-1534430167

This book is an oldie, but goodie, and reminiscent of Ferdinand the Bull. While it may be a little sad at first, there is a rewarding ending. Oliver loves to dance and deals with a lot of bullies who want to tear him down. Oliver never changes who he is—instead, others around him change and learn to not only accept Oliver but celebrate him for being himself.  

Buy the Book

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Discover More Kids Books About Kindness here »

Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. What to do When Your Child Hates to Read was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.

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Lizzie loves literacy. And alliteration! With over a decade of classroom teaching experience, and years of one on one reading and dyslexia intervention, Lizzie understands the challenges and rewards of engaging with young readers. Her passion for helping children overcome learning difficulties to fall in love with reading led to the launch of Wildflower Learning; a private practice that serves the needs of young readers in Denver, CO. Follow @wildflower_learning_denver on Instagram for more literacy tips & tricks.

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