Lesson Plan

Words That Heal: Using Children's Literature to Address Bullying

GRADE LEVEL: Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening, Language

Children’s literature can be an effective tool for addressing the growing concerns about physical, verbal and relational bullying in schools. Though bullying has been traditionally dismissed by some as “just a part of growing up,” most educators today understand that it is a pervasive problem with damaging effects on all members of the school community.

The use of literature to address bullying can benefit students of all ages by improving their ability to understand and cope with problems, helping them to develop personal and social judgment, and increasing social sensitivity, empathy, and respect for others.

This curriculum unit provides educators with background about bullying in U.S. schools, an extensive bibliography of selected children's books that deal with bullying, and strategies for selecting literature that is appropriate and effective for classroom use.

In addition, this unit offers the following instructional activities (discussion guides) based on a variety of books that can be used in kindergarten through high school to increase empathy and help students to respond constructively to bullying that they observe or experience in their communities:

  • The Name Jar (grades Pre K–1)
  • Say Something (grades 2–4)
  • Nothing Wrong with a Three-Legged Dog (grades 3–5)
  • The Revealers (grades 6–8)
  • The Skin I’m In (grades 8 & up)