Three Books to Ease Student Anxiety

The first week of school can be tough for a lot students, especially kindergartners or first graders. Kids may be worried about making new friends or meeting a new teacher. They could also be nervous about entering a new grade level. Whatever the source of their anxiety, taking the time to validate their feelings will help your students feel at ease. These books are great for the first week of school because they address common feelings that your students may be having.

The first week of school can be tough for a lot students, especially kindergartners or first graders. Kids may be worried about making new friends or meeting a new teacher. They could also be nervous about entering a new grade level. Whatever the source of their anxiety, taking the time to validate their feelings will help your students feel at ease. These books are great for the first week of school because they address common feelings that your students may be having.

Check out the books and discussion ideas below!


Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller


This is a great book to start the school year with because it addresses feeling nervous about new situations and how to treat others. Mr. Rabbit’s new neighbors are otters and he has some concerns because he’s never met an otter. Mr. Owl offers him the advice to “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” Otter then contemplates what that would look like. This easily translates to what students feel on the first day of school as they wonder if they will get along with those they don’t know. It also is a good way to begin talking about expectations for your classroom in regards to manners.

Follow-up Discussion


  • What would you do for a classmate that you would want them to do for you?
  • How would you speak to a classmate to show them how you would like to be spoken to?
  • Talk about what rules and manners look like in your classroom. Use these free coordinating manners posters as a reminder of your discussion!




First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg


Sarah Jane doesn't want to go to her new school. She doesn't know anybody and she is sure it will be awful. Mr. Hartwell tells her everyone is expecting her but Sarah Jane thinks she feels sick. The very end of the story reveals that Sarah Jane is actually the teacher! This book will give those starting the day feeling a little uneasy something to laugh about.

Follow-up Discussion


  • Ask students to share a time they were nervous about going somewhere new and it turned out to be fun.
  • What can you do to help new students feel welcome in our class?




Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes


In this story we meet a shy mouse named Wemberly. She worries about everything it seems; especially going to school. When Wemberly gets to school she meets Jewel, another girl mouse who has lots of the same worries. As the two play together and become friends, their worries don’t seem quite so big. Many students will relate to this story as they worry if they’ll make friends, have a nice teacher, or get on the right bus when it’s time to go home.

Follow-up Discussion


  • What are some silly things that Wemberly worried about? What are some things she worried about that you’ve worried about too?
  • When you are worried, who can you talk to or what can you do to feel better?

No comments :

Post a Comment