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  • Writer's pictureKaren Caswell

Starting the Year with Picture Books


The initial week of the school year plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall academic experience and fostering a positive learning environment. During this period, teachers have the opportunity to establish strong teacher-student relationships, laying the foundation for effective communication and collaboration throughout the school year. Understanding students' abilities, interests, and learning styles is crucial during this time, as it helps tailor the educational experience to their needs.


The first week also serves as a platform for introducing and solidifying classroom expectations, rules, and routines. This step is instrumental in creating a structured and predictable environment, contributing to a focused and productive learning atmosphere.


An innovative and impactful approach to cultivating class culture in the first week is through picture books. Here's how: 


  • Community-Building: Select picture books that highlight themes such as friendship, teamwork, diversity, and acceptance to promote a sense of community within the class.

  • Identity Exploration: Choose books that delve into individual and cultural identities, fostering an appreciation for diversity and cultivating a more inclusive class culture.

  • Classroom Expectations: Utilise picture books as a tool to illustrate desired behaviours and values in the classroom, making the expectations more tangible for students.

  • Shared Reading Experience: Reading a picture book collectively creates a shared experience, fostering a powerful bonding moment for the class.


Incorporating picture books into the first week not only serves educational objectives but also enhances the learning experience, making it enjoyable and memorable for students. This approach sets a positive tone for the entire school year.


As for the picture books I am using in the first week of school, find them below. What books do you find effective in achieving these goals? Let's share some ideas! 




"We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.Ursula K. LeGuin



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