Classroom Bullying Prevention, Pre-K-4th Grade: Children's Books, Lesson Plans, and Activities

Classroom Bullying Prevention, Pre-K-4th Grade: Children's Books, Lesson Plans, and Activities

Classroom Bullying Prevention, Pre-K-4th Grade: Children's Books, Lesson Plans, and Activities

Classroom Bullying Prevention, Pre-K-4th Grade: Children's Books, Lesson Plans, and Activities


"Classroom Bullying Prevention, Pre-K-4th Grade: Children's Books, Lesson Plans, and Activities" provides strategies to deter and prevent bullying--a serious and widespread social problem that starts early and causes great harm to not only the victims but also the bullies themselves.

The book's content and the included lesson plans are specifically designed to supplement school-wide efforts to reduce and eliminate bullying. The lesson plans enable students to understand the importance of environments where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected. Supplemented by creative illustrations and summarized tables of key information, the book will be helpful to community and school librarians, elementary school teachers, and paraprofessionals serving pre-K through 4th grade students. Additionally, school-based mental health professionals such as school counselors, psychologists, and social workers can utilize the book's resources to teach social skills in classrooms and group counseling sessions.


The numbers and statistics describing bullying and the negative repercussions resulting from bullying are overwhelming. As educators, we must personally and collectively take a stand against bullying and prepare our students to do likewise. Rather than passively tolerating bullying, student bystanders must be mentored and encouraged to actively take a stand, step in, and speak up. “It’s time to confront bullying, harassment, and violence whenever and wherever we find it. This can be our contribution. We can make a difference, both in classrooms and in the world” (Henkin, 2005, pp. 64–65).

To assist us in making this contribution, this book of ready-to-use lesson plans and activities addresses bullying prevention in elementary school classrooms (Pre-K–4th grade). In total, the book contains 20 lesson plans: Fifteen lesson plans are included in Chapter 3 and five lesson plans are included in Chapter 4. Each lesson plan is based on a bully-themed children’s picture book and includes activities that “stretch” the story, actively involving students and applying core messages. Each prepared lesson plan requires minimal preparation and serves as a basic guide to help identify core ideas and teaching points.

Lesson plans provided in this book strengthen student bystander support against bullying. The stories and activities teach and encourage all students to follow three simple strategies: take a stand, step in, and speak up.

The primary audience of this book is community and school librarians and elementary school teachers serving Pre-K–4th-grade students. This includes general and special area teachers (e.g., art and music teachers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals). Additionally, school-based mental health professionals—including school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers—may also utilize this book’s resources to teach social skills in classrooms and small group counseling sessions. Although school librarians, teachers, and school-based mental health professionals represent a variety of professions, for simplicity we refer to this combined group as “educators.”

This book is not intended to be used in isolation as a singular strategy to end bullying. Recognizing the interrelated and complex factors that create bully-free environments, this book and the included lesson plans supplement schoolwide efforts to reduce and eliminate bullying. In particular, the selected stories and accompanying lesson plans are designed to help students understand the need for everyone to feel welcomed, valued, and respected.

In Chapter 1, “Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders,” we build the case for classroom-based bibliotherapy. This short introductory chapter provides a quick overview of bullying and research-based prevention strategies. Additionally, we emphasize the importance of strengthening the anti-bullying power of bystanders, who represent the vast and often silent majority of students. To counter bullying, we also encourage educators to create and maintain a safe and caring classroom environment with clearly identified behavioral expectations.

Chapter 2, “Sharing Books with Our Students,” includes a brief summary of implementing school-based bibliotherapy and reasons for student participation in such activities. Readers are guided through the process of reading and discussing carefully selected bully-themed children’s literature with students. We emphasize the importance of initiating group discussions about bullying, friendship, kindness, and conflict resolution. By sharing stories with students, a common classroom language is established that supports a safe and caring learning environment. Following group discussion, students participate in activities that stretch each story’s core message into action, solidifying learning with an applied activity. Across the school year, we encourage educators to frequently refer to examples, terms, and phrases from these stories and to continue teaching lessons that strengthen bystander support and target critical anti-bullying social skills.

Chapter 3, “Lesson Plans to Strengthen Bystander Support,” builds on information presented in Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 begins with an annotated list of 15 children’s bully-themed picture books. Each book provides examples of how bystanders did or did not support others who were bullied. Following the annotated list, we provide lesson plans . . .

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