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Back To School Read Alouds – Book 4: I Walk With Vanessa

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa
Learn how to use I Walk With Vanessa to talk about anti bullying. Make first week of school inviting with back to school read alouds!

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The first week of school is the perfect time to cultivate the classroom culture that you would like to see. This post is one of the Back To School Read Alouds series for you to introduce important topics to your students.

Starting the school year with a strong focus on kindness and anti-bullying sets the tone for a positive classroom culture. The perfect book to spark this conversion is this cute wordless picture book called “I Walk with Vanessa” by Kerascoët. I cannot emphasize enough how cute and effective this book is. I first used it with my 5th grade class, and they LOVED IT!

So whether you are teaching lower or upper elementary, this book can help you create a compassionate and inclusive classroom community by addressing the topic of anti-bullying.

Now, let’s talk books!

Table Of Contents:

I Walk With Vanessa Overview

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa
Grab a copy of “I Walk With Vanessa” here

“I Walk with Vanessa” by Kerascoët is a poignant, wordless picture book that tells the story of a little girl named Vanessa, who is bullied on her way home from school. Another child sees the bullying incident but doesn’t know what to do until she finds a simple yet powerful way to help Vanessa.

Kerascoët’s illustration highlights the power of kindness and the importance of taking action when witnessing bullying. The book fosters empathy and inspires children to stand up for others, key attributes in establishing a supportive classroom community.

This book is a perfect addition to our Free First Week of School lesson plans, based on Back to School read-alouds!

Back To School Read Aloud Lesson Plan: Anti-Bullying

Objective: Students will understand what bullying is, the importance of standing up against it, and ways they can support peers who are being bullied.

Pre-Reading

Initiate a conversation about bullying. 

Questions To Ask:

  • What does bullying mean?
  • Have students ever witnessed or experienced it?
  • What emotions might be connected to bullying?
  • How does bullying affect our school community?

Anytime I do a read-aloud on SEL topic, I always love to record students’ answers on an Anchor Chart or the whiteboard.


During Reading

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa
Grab a copy of “I Walk With Vanessa” here

Since this book is a wordless picture book, pause at every page and ask students to help narrate what’s happening.

Questions To Ask:

  • What are the characters feeling?
  • What choices are they making?
  • How are the colors and images used to convey emotion?

Stop at the page where the little girl in yellow contemplates what to do. Ask the students what they might do in her situation.

Additional Questions:

  • Who is Vanessa?
  • What can we learn about Vanessa from the pages so far?
  • Who are the different characters and what are their roles?
  • How do the characters’ expressions change throughout the story?

Post Reading

Ask the students to reflect and share how they felt during the story and their thoughts on the girl in yellow’s solution.

Questions To Ask:

  • How did the story make you feel?
  • What did you learn about kindness and empathy?
  • How can we apply this story to our classroom culture?

Discuss ways students can stand up against bullying in their own lives. You can record students’ answers or ask students to write their thoughts on a sticky note and let some present their answers.


Activity: Anti-Bullying Informative Posters

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa Activity
Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa Activity

In this activity, students will tap into their creativity to create an informative anti-bullying poster. This hands-on project will allow students to express their ideas and strategies on standing up against bullying, and promote a sense of responsibility towards creating a safe and respectful school environment.

Materials Needed: 

  • White Poster Paper or Construction Paper
  • Markers, Colored Pencils, Crayons

Instructions:

  1. This can be a Group or an Individual Activity, it’s your choice, teachers!
  2. Ask students to create an informational Anti-Bullying Poster that will have helpful strategy or strategies on what to do if they are being bullied or see someone getting bullied
  3. Let students brainstorm ideas and or use the ideas that they came up with during the post-reading period. They should decide what message they want their poster to convey, and how they want to structure the information.
    • If your students are struggling, you can do this as a class. 
    • Discuss different scenarios where bullying can occur and talk about the different ways one can respond. Encourage students to think of both verbal and non-verbal responses. Write all the ideas on a board.
  4. Students will then start creating their posters. They can draw pictures or write statements to communicate their message.
  5. When presenting the posters, you can allow each student or group to present their poster to the class or do a Gallery Walk if you don’t have enough time.
  6. Optional: Ask your principal if you can display the posters around the school – in the hallways, the cafeteria, or the library. This will not only allow the students to share their work with the rest of the school but will also help spread the anti-bullying message to a wider audience.
Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa Activity
Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa Activity

By the end of this activity, students will not only have tangible strategies to stand up against bullying but also feel empowered to help others do the same.

If you love Social Emotional Learning and want to implement it throughout the school year, grab a FREE 1 month of SEL Daily Morning Meeting here.

Save It For Later

Pin this Blog Post or the Back To School Read Aloud Lesson Plan below for later use!

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa
Pin Me! Back To School Read Alouds: Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

Check Out More Back To School Read Alouds here:

I Walk With Vanessa Read Aloud Lesson Plan:

Back To School Read Alouds: I Walk With Vanessa Lesson Plan
I Walk With Vanessa Lesson Plan

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Ending bullying is a community effort, and this lesson is a starting point to engage students in that process. By talking about it and helping your students come up with strategies to handle tough situations, you will equip your students with the tools they need to make this positive change.

I hope that you will be reading “I Walk With Vanessa” this school year! If you do, I would love to see your students’ posters so tag me on Instagram @LittleYellowStarTeaches. And if you decide to read this book, remember to go give @kerascoet_ some love.

Thank you for reading, and welcome back to school!

Bye for now,

Prima from LittleYellowStar

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