Two for Tuesday: Lessons with Two Picture Books

Developing lessons with picture books is easier if you have a theme in mind. Two for Tuesday is a fun way to introduce two books on the same topic. If you are strapped for time, try collaborating with another educator and divide the work. This will further the Two for Tuesday theme by having two educators reading picture books for a lesson. Below are some Two for Tuesday lessons with picture books to try next week.


Include/Think: Learners contribute a balanced perspective when participating in a learning community by articulating an awareness of the contributions of a range of learners

Did you know that showing gratitude can make you happier and healthier? Harvard Health Publishing reported on this idea in “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier.” The blog post brings attention to the work of psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough. Their studies found that grateful people have less doctor visits. Another study by Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman found that delivering letters of gratitude makes people happy for longer periods of time.

  • Begin a lesson of gratitude by reading Sincerely, Emerson: A Girl, Her Letter, and the Helpers All Around Us. Readers will enjoy this story about a girl who loves to write and send letters. One day, she wrote a letter of thanks to her mail carrier. She wanted him to know that she appreciated his service. Without him, her letters would not be delivered to the people she loved. Doug, the mail carrier, shared the letter with postal workers from around the country. They were moved by her words and wrote back. She ended up with lots of mail!
  • Next, read Keeping the City Going. This story is about the essential workers who kept things going while the world shut down during the pandemic. Learners will have a new appreciation for so many workers that made staying home possible.

Invite learners to write their own thank-you letters. Read Emerson’s thank-you note at the end of the book to show learners a fun way to give thanks.


Explore/Think: Learners develop and satisfy personal curiosity reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes

Are you looking for ways to tie classroom standards with the AASL Standards Framework for Learners? How about exploring different ways to express ideas? In this lesson, learners read examples of composing works of poetry.

  • Have you heard about the six-word memoirs? The idea is that you tell your story with only six words. Larry Smith, who ignited this creative project, edited memoirs about the pandemic. In Smith’s book A Terrible, Horrible, No Good Year, readers will find six-word entries by teachers, learners, and parents. Share a few of your favorite poems with learners. Invite them to create their own six-word memoir to publish in some way. Watch “Six Words Are The Way In l Larry Smith l TEDxMarionCorrectional” to learn about memoir writing.
  • If learners need more than six words to tell their stories, maybe 16 will suffice. In 16 Words: Williams Carlos Williams & “The Red Wheelbarrow,” we observe a day in the life of Dr. William Carlos Williams. As he works, Williams pays attention to the world around him. He jots down his observations and creates poetry with his notes. After reading 16 Words, invite learners to record the things they notice throughout the day. Then, challenge learners to write their own 16-word poem.

For more ideas with poetry, read “Online Poetry Activities for National Poetry Month” on the Knowledge Quest blog.

Working with Others to Make a Change

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Include/Create II.B.1: Learners adjust their awareness of the global learning community by interacting with a range of learners who reflect a range of perspectives.

Working with others can present challenges. You may not have the same ideas or beliefs, but when everyone comes from a place of love, great things can happen. Readers can see this message in The Circles All Around Us and Change Sings.

  • In The Circles All Around Us, readers see how much better the world is when allow different people in our lives. The book shows small acts of kindness and encourages readers to make a difference.
  • Change Sings is an evocative, poetic message that inspires a call to action. Gorgeous illustrations enrich the text by adding depth to the main idea. A double-page spread shows a community of children sprucing up their town. This illustrates the idea that young learners can work together to make a difference.

After reading the picture books, brainstorm service project ideas. Divide the class into groups to plan a service project. The iTeach team at Kennesaw State University developed Service Project Guides for learners to brainstorm and work together. The worksheets include prompts that help learners plan meaningful projects together.

I hope these book pairings gave you some ideas for lessons that support the AASL Standards! Do you have two books you like to read together? If so, please share in the comment box below!


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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