By Amadee Ricketts, author of Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning
Reading together is fun all year round, but summer is a great time to discover new favorites and add a creative twist. Summertime SEL (social and emotional learning) Reading BINGO is designed to help you do just that, by highlighting books about kindness, friendship, feelings, humor, and more.
The game board linked above features a mix of reading and activity prompts. Some of the categories clearly relate to social and emotional concepts, while others, such as wordless picture books and books based on songs, may seem a little less obvious. While those titles may not offer specific SEL content, they encourage conversations and interactions that help young children build important social and emotional skills. The same goes for the activity prompts, which branch out from reading to book-related creative play and hands-on learning.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite books for ages 3–8, sorted by category. You will notice that there is a great deal of overlap between subjects, all of which can lead to marking a square on your BINGO card. Mix and match freely, and include your favorites too.
If you complete five squares in a row, in any direction, congratulations on being a Super SEL Reader. If you complete more than one row, or the whole board, you are officially an SEL BINGO champ, and I hope you will give yourself a round of applause. Happy reading!
Books About Big Feelings
When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
I’m Happy-Sad Today by Lory Britain, Ph.D.
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
Mad, Mad Bear! by Kimberly Gee
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
Books About Confidence/Positivity
Books About Families
Books About Friendship
Books That Are Funny
Books About Imagination
Books About Kindness
Books Based on Songs
If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera
You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis
Itsy Bitsy Spider by Annie Kubler
Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley
Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
The Bear Went Over the Mountain by Iza Trapani
Books About Waiting/Patience
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Waiting by Kevin Henkes
Wait by Antoinette Portis
Waiting Is Not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick
Waiting Is Not Easy! by Mo Willems
Not ’til Tomorrow, Phoebe by Julie Zwillich
Wordless or Nearly Wordless Books
Books About Connecting with the World
Round Like a Ball! by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Me and You and the Universe by Bernardo Marçolla
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
Amadee Ricketts received her MLS degree from the College of St. Catherine and has been a librarian since 2002. She is currently the library director at the Cochise County Library District in Arizona. When not working or writing, she enjoys taking photos of insects and other tiny things. She lives with her husband, who is a photographer, and their cat.
Amadee is the author of Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning.
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