5 Read Alouds about Respect for Elementary Teachers in 2024

Reading aloud children’s books to your elementary students is a great way to introduce and teach respect. Below is a list of our favorite picture books to teach this social emotional learning topic. They all lend themselves well to facilitating rich classroom discussions around being respectful. The Recess Queen, The Proudest Blue, The Giving Tree, and The Sandwich Swap are part of our respect SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching respect. Learn all about these picture book read alouds about respect below and how you can use them to teach being respectful!

respect read alouds

5 Read Alouds about Respect

Below are 5 quality children’s books about respect for elementary teachers. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching respect, as well as many other concepts and skills.

1. The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

The first book on this list of read alouds about respect is The Recess Queen. Jean is the Queen of Recess at her school. She is always the one to go first when playing games and will growl at anyone who crosses her. One day, a new student, Katie Sue, joins Jean’s class. Not knowing the rules, Katie Sue kicks, bounces and jumps before Jean. When Jean confronts Katie, she is surprised to find that Katie Sue talks back! This story will teach children the importance of being respectful to others. My Respect SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

vocabulary booklet for The Recess Queen The Proudest Blue book cover

2. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali

In this story, Faizah is very excited for the first day of school because her sister, Asiya, is wearing a hijab to school for the first time. The hijab is a beautiful shade of blue. In school, others are disrespectful and make mean comments and ask rude questions. Faizah learns that Asiya is not upset by the boy in her class, and she continues to wear her hijab with pride. Students will learn the importance of being respectful of others. My Respect SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The third book on this list of read alouds about respect is The Giving Tree, which is a story of the relationship between a boy and a tree. The boy visits the tree only when he needs something and the tree gives him whatever he needs without hesitation. The boy does not show respect to the tree throughout the whole story. Students learn what being disrespectful looks like by analyzing how the boy treats the tree. My Respect SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

The Giving Tree book cover The Sandwich Swap book cover

4. The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio

One day, Lily decides to tell Salma that her sandwich is gross. Then, Salma tells Lily that she thinks her sandwich is gross too. They are disrespectful to one other. This causes a huge conflict for the girls, and soon the other students join in on the conflict. A huge food fight erupts and the girls realize they need to resolve their conflict and be respectful of one another. Students will learn about respecting each other as they hear about the problems the sandwiches started. My Respect SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

5. Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

The last book on this list of read alouds about respect is Your Name is a Song. After the first day of school, the main character in this book was very upset. No one in her class could say her name, not even her teacher. The girl’s mother encourages her to sing her name for her classmates, and that is how they will learn to say her name. The girl also explains that people at school made fun of her name. While they walk home, the girl’s mother talks to her about the importance of names and where they come from. In the author’s note at the end of the book, the author explains the importance of learning to pronounce someone’s name correctly. Students learn how taking the time to learn how to pronounce someone’s name correctly is a sign of respect. Check out these Your Name is a Song activities!

Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities

Below are some integrated SEL and literacy resources for elementary teachers.

SEL Unit

Our Respect Unit, which is available individually or as part of a year-long SEL bundle, includes lessons for the first four books on this list. This unit is packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, games, and activities. Click an image below to either get this individual respect unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Respect SEL Unit
Social Emotional Learning Units Bundle
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SEL Book Companions

As I mentioned earlier, I love teaching SEL skills using picture books. That’s why I created the Starts With a Story Collection. High quality children’s literature supports elementary teachers in delivering meaningful and accessible SEL lessons. Many of the read alouds on this list are part of this book companion collection. Check out the book companions below!

The Recess Queen book companion The Proudest Blue The Sandwich Swap Your Name is a Song

In closing, we hope you found this list of read alouds about respect helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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