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Better Readers, Better Humans!

With 18 index cards in hand, I scoured the shelves of the Millis Public Library. I glanced down at the nonfiction topics each reader was interested in and started pulling book after book. The stack continued to grow as I simultaneously began to consider what mentor text I would use. . .time for something new.

We’d have plenty of time to study extreme weather together in bends two and three, but what would our community learn about in bend one? I thought, If the kids get to do a choice topic deep dive with their new reading partner, I want to make a choice too. Then, my eyes made contact with the human body section. Next, my mind wandered to the brain. Aha! Brain = emotional regulation. Something we have been talking a lot about in our classroom community this fall. I scooted over to another shelf and discovered a dark blue spine with pops of bright colors and pulled it out to see an inviting cover. Then, I cracked that spine open to preview the pages. This is our read aloud for bend one, I decided with confidence. It is the perfect combination of brainwork and heart work.

Informational Reading Skills

On day one, we connected to the text with our brains and our hearts: “What do you know about this topic? Why do you care about this topic already or why should we care?”

Something that I know about this topic is that people have positive and negative emotions. They can be different sizes…big or small.


I care about this topic because I’m human. When I feel things, I know I’m real.”


We should care because when we understand how people feel, it can help our community.”


In subsequent days, we rallied to preview text features to predict what we might learn, identify challenges posed by nonfiction, and practice taking structured notes.

Social Emotional Learning

Something I love about this text is that the book tells readers times when it wants them to interact with it. How engaging! During our afternoon read aloud time, we have connected with each other through positive affirmations, mindful moments, and practicing gratitude:

Wow! I feel better about myself.”


Together, this book and I are working as a team to coach fourth graders into trying important brainwork and heart work. If you are a parent or teacher of elementary aged children, put My Mixed Emotions on hold at your local library or add it to your cart today. Happy reading, and don’t forget. . .we feel because we’re human. ❤️

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