Creation of character book clubs

Posted: March 24, 2022

Newport News Public Schools has shown genuine concern for students’ social and emotional health through curriculum content specifically aimed at building resilience and helping students cope with challenges in and out of school . A new initiative is now extending this social/emotional program beyond the classroom and helping caregivers talk about these important concepts at home.

The NNPS Teaching and Learning and Student Promotion departments launched Building Character Book Clubs, a project that reinforces social-emotional learning with books that students can keep and add to their personal libraries. It also provides a resource for families to help them facilitate social, emotional and literacy learning for their students.

The project, funded with CARES Act funds to address unfinished learning, helps students who are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic learn how to manage their emotions and social interactions in healthy ways.

Each month, each Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 student will receive a book at the appropriate reading level that addresses a topic also covered in class. Caregivers can scan a QR code which will give them access to a newsletter including literacy and social/emotional activities they can do at home. The newsletter will also be available on each school’s website. By March 31, every K-2 student at Newport News will have received their first book from the program.

In March, books and lessons will address frustration and how to deal with it appropriately. In April the books will discuss self-regulation and in May the students will learn how to treat others. June’s topic will be self-esteem. The program will continue throughout the 2022-2023 school year, starting again in September when students learn to manage fear and worry.

Nathalie Rose, specialist in teaching elementary English, says: “We have seen the effects of the past two years on students’ academic and interpersonal skills and we know that both areas are important for student success. By addressing these social/emotional topics, we make it more likely that students can perform at their best academically as well.”

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