We’ve put together a list of books for character education to help you teach this important skill. Make your character education lessons fun and engaging with these 20 read-aloud books that build good character traits!
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Engaging Read-Aloud Books for Teaching Manners and Self Regulation
Teach students how to control their emotions with Andrew and his pet dragon Diggory Doo in the read-aloud book Train Your Angry Dragon. This engaging read-aloud provides children with strategies for managing their anger such as, counting to ten, do unto others, walk away, and more. This book also provides an opportunity to practice rhyme when working on Phonemic Awareness.
Students learn the importance of listening without interruption. Papa attempts to read a bedtime story to Chicken, but Chicken continuously interrupts each fairy tale he attempts to read. Finally, Papa runs out of stories and grows sleepy. Chicken decides to read Papa a story but this time Chicken is interrupted by Papa’s snoring! This book also touches on the fairy tales, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Grettle, and Chicken Little.
3. Do Unto Otters – A Book About Manners
Teach the concept of ‘treating others the way you would like to be treated in a fun and playful way with the read-aloud Do Unto Otters. Mr. Rabbit grows concerned when some new neighbors move in next door, the Otters. He worries about what will happen if they do not get along. The wise owl provides him with some sage advice, do unto Otters as you would have Otters do unto you. Mr. Rabbit however is not sure what that means, so throughout this funny read-aloud Mr. Rabbit ventures through the process of just exactly how he would like the Otters to be.
The Core Coaches have a hilarious youtube video of the book being read aloud, complete with silly voices and sound effects!
Another great read-aloud regarding interrupting is My Mouth is A Volcano. We all love to share our ‘important words’! My Mouth is a Volcano is a great read-aloud that provides students with an empathetic strategy to utilize when they are just ‘bursting’ to share their thoughts.
The Speech Room News has some excellent character education activities that go along with My Mouth Is a Volcano for grades 2-5. For K-1 activities check out Miss Karys Kindergarten.
Build Confidence – Conflict Resolution Read-Aloud Books
This is a great read-aloud to combat children’s reluctance to doing things they have not perfected. Ish is a great read-aloud for building students’ confidence when trying new things.
6. Sky Color
How do you color the sky if you do not have the color blue? Sky Color is a great read-aloud that will help students get more comfortable with ‘thinking outside the box’.
7. The Dot
The Dot is one of those staple books for character education that will help build student confidence. With a loving and encouraging teacher’s support, a child’s art talents blossom with a single dot! Encourage children to ‘try’ and use what they do know how to do and build upon it with this loving confidence-building book.
8. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
Kids just love the Rock, Paper, Scissor game! Take advantage of that enthusiasm with this read-aloud that will have them rolling with laughter! This hilarious and engaging read-aloud is great for teaching confidence, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.
First, all of the three warriors, Rock, Paper, and Scissors are frustrated as they feel there is no one worthy left to challenge them. That is until they meet one another! They ultimately learn to respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses and become the best of friends!
Read-Aloud Books that Teach Perserverance
The Three Ninja Pigs puts a witty spin on the classic tale of The Three Little Pigs. This read-aloud much like the classic also teaches the importance of practice and hard work.
When the bully Wolf threatens the pigs’ town they decide to train at the ‘new Ninja school’ so that they can stop the bully. The setting for this fractured tale is Japan and it includes real vocabulary used in martial arts! Much like the classic two of the pigs only put a little effort into their training. The first pig quits when he gets bored with the drills and drops out in just a couple of weeks. The second pig studies, jujitsu, but he too quits early in his training. The third pig learns karate. Practicing for months, she even perfects the ‘pork chop’! Much like the original tale, they are quickly defeated by the wolf. The third pig who had continued to train to mastery succeeds at defeating the wolf in an epic ultimate showdown involving martial arts!
How often do we hear children say, ‘I can’t’? Far too many! Build student confidence with this fabulous read-aloud. The jungle is holding a Jungle Dance! Gerald the giraffe feels sad because he feels like he is bad at dancing. All the other animals could do their own special dances very well. A wise cricket shares with Gerald the wisdom that just because Gerald is different does not mean he too cannot dance. He just needed to find a different song his song! In the end, Gerald discovers that he as well everyone CAN dance when they find the ‘music’ that they love!
Teasing of any kind is frustrating and hurtful! This adorable read-aloud story is about Leo the smallest lightning bug who is teased because of his inability to ‘light up’. Students can easily empathize with Leo as he works through his feeling when teased family, and the weather! Through patience, practice, Leo does successfully light up!
12. How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow is a great read-aloud for encouraging teamwork and one of our favorite books for character education! The Sun and Clouds work together as a team to create rainbows! However, one day they have a fight and refuse to be in the sky together. Without rainbows, all the colors in the world sadly disappear! That is until a forgotten box of crayons comes to the rescue! Through teamwork, they begin to ‘color’ rainbows all over the world until Sun and Clouds notice them and remember the joy that the rainbows brought to everyone. Sun and Cloud join together once more and all the colors return to the world!
Check out Easy Peasy and Fun for some fun rainbow crafts!
Character Education – Acceptance – Diversity
13. A Wolf’s Tale
A Wolf’s Tale is a wonderful read-aloud that teaches students the importance of seeking to truly understand someone before judging them. It is great for teaching students about the pitfalls of rumors as well. This is not the same Wolf from the tale of the original Three Little Pigs. Wolf makes this clear at the beginning of the tale that he is sharing with a group of young piglets, yes piglets! Wolf one day noticed some interesting activity in Pig City. He soon intercepts a birthday invitation for Little Pig. Wolf however cannot find the location, The Brick House. He stops by a few houses before eventually finding the Brick House. Chaos erupts due to the misunderstanding and old rumors. Finally, Wolf’s intentions are revealed, he was delivering a CAKE!
14. Library Lion
Library Lion is great a excellent read-aloud book for teaching students the importance of rules but most importantly the importance of being ‘understanding’ of others. It is also perfect for teaching or reviewing proper library behavior. As long as the Lion follows the library’s rules he can remain in the library that he loves dearly. An accident one day forces him to ‘break the rules’ and he is forced to leave his beloved library. Through time and understanding of the reasons behind the Lion breaking the rules (Seeking to understand) the Lion is soon welcomed back to his beloved library.
Stories by Storie has some great activities for Library Lion.
15. Ricky the Rock that Couldn’t Roll
Ricky the Rock that couldn’t Roll is a book great for teaching, perseverance, friendship, teamwork, problem-solving, as well as diversity. As the rocks are playing they decide to play a game that involves rolling down a hill. Ricky is flat on one side so he doesn’t roll like the round little pebble or large boulder. His friends do not want to leave their friend out of the game so they team up and problem-solve to help get Ricky ‘rolling’!
This is a great time to try some teamwork activities that focus on problem-solving. Check out Teaching Expertise for some great team-building activities.
A warm and engaging read-aloud is perfect for teaching students that it is ok to be different (to celebrate diversity). Not Your Typical Dragon is a great character education read-aloud about a young dragon named Crispin Blaze who unlike his firebreathing family does not ‘breath fire’. Students follow along as young Crispin deals with the negativity surrounding his ‘differences’. The naysayers have quickly turned around when Crispin finds acceptance from an unlikely source and ultimately uses his uniqueness to save his own home from wayward flames!
Character Education – Being Proactive – Responsibility
17. Bully Beans
Bully B.E.A.N.S (Bullies Everywhere Are Now Stopped) will teach children how to be proactive and empathetic when they encounter a bully or are a witness to bullying. This story is about a school bully who is very unkind to other students. With threats of twisting students into ‘pretzels’ if they do not do what she commands, students are scared and do as she demands. Throughout the book, students will be introduced to Bully Beans a kid-friendly and memorable strategy for dealing with bullies in a healthy manner.
Mrs. Sepps Counselor Corner has a great activity along with a free printable to go along with the book Bully Beans.
Peanut Butter and Cupcake! Is one of our favorite read-aloud books for character education to focus on making new friends. Sometimes young children struggle with making new friends. Peanut Butter and Cupcake is an engaging character education book about a kid who is new to an area trying to make friends. Kids just love the adorable realistic images of foods turned into adorable characters! You’ll have the kids giggling as they learn how to make new friends!
The Core Coaches have some wonderful activities to accompany the book Peanut Butter and Cupcake.
You are sure to get some giggles as you teach children the importance of being proactive with this funny yet impactful tale involving, dog poop! Yes, dog poop! A Soccer coach father and his son arrive at the soccer preparing for the soccer game. The team is warned by another team about a pile of dog poop. The story continues as more people arrive for the game. People make excuses and simply try to avoid the poop rather than being proactive and discarding it. The poop begins to pile up and soon there is nowhere for them to play soccer! Students will learn the importance of removing obstacles in order to achieve goals.
Classroom Callouts has some engaging activities to go along with The Dog Poop Initiative read-aloud.
20. The Good Egg
The Good Egg is an engaging read-aloud that is great for teaching students about responsibilities. It touches on the challenges of being ‘good’ when surrounded by people who are not behaving. A very good egg surrounded by rotten eggs who discovers the significance of self-care and acceptance of others.
Counselor Kerri has some engaging character education activities to go along with the read-aloud book The Good Egg.
I hope you found many new books for character education lessons!