Bullying. It’s an unavoidable part of growing up. Not all kids will be bullied. Not all kids will be bullies. But bullying is so prevalent that every child will experience a bullying incident, in one form or another, during their school career.
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. It is a time for communities and educators of all kinds to take stock of the steps they have taken, and what steps may still need to be taken, to prevent bullying in our communities and schools.
We all want to eliminate bullies from our schools, sports teams, and neighborhoods. How do we make that happen, though? It is hard. It takes a concerted effort among parents, teachers, coaches, and other youth leaders. It means teaching empathy, compassion, and boldness to take a stand for what is right.
One way that parents and educators can help teach these lessons is through the use of literature. There are some great stories out there that take the very serious subject of bullying and make it engaging and relatable to young minds.
This article, which was recently featured on Yahoo Parenting, is a great summary of a few children’s books that tackle the subject of bullying. I was delighted to see Eleanor Estes’ wonderful The Hundred Dresses on the list. It is the story about Wanda, a Polish immigrant who is teased. Other kids with names like Smith and Allen think her name is long and strange. One girl feels uncomfortable about the teasing but does nothing to stop it. She regrets her behavior and feels ashamed when the Polish girl’s family moves away and learns a life-lesson to not remain silent when someone is being teased.
To go along with this classic story, I have a novel study available on my TpT site. It was created for grades 3-5 and includes a ten page student packet consisting of short-answer questions, word work, and discussion questions. A script-writing activity allows students to explore the idea of bullying in their own school and their responses to it.
You will also find:
- an anticipation guide to explore student attitudes about bullying
- 10 page student packet with questions about character, theme, comprehension, and vocabulary
- sentences to identify parts of speech (noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, and adverb)
- writing a summary
- cards to match vocabulary words and definitions for centers
- word wall words
- multiple choice review quiz
- matching vocabulary quiz
- answer keys included!
Literature can be a great resource for tackling difficult subject matter. It helps to give us insight into situations we don’t always understand and encourages empathy by helping us relate to the characters in the stories we read. Sometimes we just need a different perspective. That’s just one of the many reasons why I love books!