Two of the core ingredients for a positive classroom environment are Respect and Empathy. As teachers strive to inject more of these social-emotional learning aspects into their classes, these children’s books about The Golden Rule will definitely give you a boost!
PLUS you can grab a freebie to help you teach The Golden Rule in your classroom.
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What is The Golden Rule?
Before diving into the book topics, I can’t assume you know what The Golden Rule is all about. (No offense!)
Furthermore, I don’t want to assume that you understand how it influences respect and empathy in your classroom.
So first things first, let’s define The Golden Rule:
Treat others the way you want to be treated.-The Golden Rule
Simple, yet powerful. The Golden Rule gives teachers a great starting point to build empathy and understanding the classroom. It forces reflection for students and helps them with this saying: “put yourself in someone else’s shoes!”
For years, I listed this as the number one rule in my classroom, and I used it to strengthen students’ abilities to respect and show empathy to one another. It’s been one of my favorite classroom management techniques as a teacher.
And it works! Like crazy!!
You can get the full scoop on how I used The Golden Rule for classroom management in this detailed post.
Now we’re ready to dig more into children’s books about The Golden Rule together!
Books That Teach Respect for Others
Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners by Laurie Keller is my top pick from this list! Here are some of my favorite features:
- Students get to see real-life scenarios of how The Golden Rule is applied
- There are 5 other languages featured in the book–which is just a bonus in my opinion
- It does a great job showing kids how to be respectful of other people and their stuff
I will be honest and admit that the illustrations are very busy! So if you are using this as a read aloud, it will be difficult to show the pictures quickly.
Wondering how to afford more books for your classroom? This post can help: Cheap & Free Ways to Stock Your Classroom Library
The Golden Rule by Sherrill S. Cannon teaches the concept of treating others like you want to be treated with fun rhyming words.
My students also really love the modern-day references like when the characters talk about their Kindle.
And I really love the real-life examples of how you can show respect for others. Plus, it gives lots of student-friendly examples of kindness.
Speaking of kindness…
Books with The Golden Rule for Kindness
Some people think The Berenstain Bears books are “old-timey” since they’ve been around for so many years.
I tune those people out! When it comes to character education, like kindness, The Berenstain Bears and The Golden Rule by Stan & Jan Berenstain is wonderful.
Sister is given a chance to befriend a new bear friend or be mean to other like the others. I can’t give away the ending, but let’s just say this book helps kids understand how The Golden Rule impacts friendship.
Here’s something else you might enjoy: 11 Children’s Book Written by Celebrities for Classroom Teachers
Judge Birdie and The Meltdown: A Children’s Book about The Golden Rule and The Importance of Kindness by Kirsten Usman is Part 2 in a 3-part book series.
Of all the books on this list, this is the only one that can be used as a novel or chapter book for older kids.
Judge Birdie is an adult going on a camping trip with her grandson Milo. The adventure requires both of them to show respect and kindness by using The Golden Rule.
It’s really great that this book comes FREE through Kindle Unlimited.
If you’ve read any of my other posts about read alouds, I’ve mentioned how much I love using Kindle Unlimited as a teacher.
Classroom books get really expensive. I pay $9.99 a month for tons of books and magazines. As long as you have a way to stream the digital books, you are good to go.
Plus, I can use it in the classroom and for my own teacher books. I definitely would not keep mentioning this service if I didn’t love it!
Learning About The Golden Rule in General
The books above have a certain focus around respect or kindness. But The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper teaches about the principles of this wonderful philosophy in general.
The story is about a boy who walks around with his grandfather and comes across a sign that says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The grandfather explains different meanings of this saying and my favorite one is
Do Nothing to Other People That You Would Not Like Having Done to You
Can you imagine the class conversations this one quote could stir up!?
I also LOVE the beautiful illustrations! It makes a great read aloud for upper elementary students.
Task Cards for Practice & Reflection
After reading children’s books about The Golden Rule with my students, I follow up with reflection task cards on the topic.
The goal isn’t just to be aware of what this rule is, but to be able to apply it in and out of the classroom.
As students begin to reflect more on how they want to be treated, and transfer that treatment to others, a domino effect of goodness spreads throughout the classroom.
Now isn’t that golden?!