Building Character Book Clubs

Posted: March 24, 2022

Newport News Public Schools has demonstrated sincere concern for the social and emotional health of students through curriculum content aimed specifically at building resilience and helping students deal with challenges in school and out. A new initiative now extends that social/emotional curriculum beyond the classroom and helps caregivers talk about these important concepts at home.

The Teaching and Learning and the Student Advancement departments in NNPS have launched Building Character Book Clubs, a project that reinforces social emotional learning with books students can keep and add to their home libraries. It also provides a resource for families to help them facilitate their student's social emotional and literacy learning.

The project, paid for with CARES Act funds to address unfinished learning, helps students who are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic learn to deal with their emotions and social interactions in a healthy way.

Each month, each student in kindergarten, first and second grade will receive a book at the appropriate reading level that addresses a topic also covered in class. Caregivers can scan a QR code that will give them access to a newsletter that includes 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 in Newport News will have received their first book in the program.

In March, books and lessons will address frustration and how to deal with it appropriately. In April, books will discuss self-regulation, and in May, students will learn about how to treat others. June's topic will be self-esteem. The program will continue through the 2022-23 school year, beginning anew in September, when students will learn about handling fear and worry.

Nathalie Rose, instructional specialist for elementary English, says, "We have seen the effects of the last two years on students' academic and interpersonal skills and know both areas are important to studentsâ?? success. By addressing these social/emotional topics, we make it more likely students can perform at their best academically as well."