Building Friendships through Interactive Read Aloud with Purposeful Talk

                          friendship books with compelling questions

Aristotle once stated, “who would choose to live, even if possessed with all other things, without friends.”

Many of our students struggle with the basic components of building friendships such as asking to join in play, suggesting play “Let’s…”, sharing, taking turns, changing perspectives, cooperating, and using respectful language.

We, therefore, must directly teach friendship skills through intentional, deliberate discussions and opportunities throughout the day. These opportunities can be embedded into the activities and work that is already occurring in the classroom setting.

Intentionally Choosing Literature to Discuss Friendships during Interactive Read Aloud with Purposeful Talk:

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfisterrainbow fish

Compelling Questions to Explore:

  • Do we always need to share to have friends?
  • Why does sharing help us have friends?
  • What are ways that we can share in the classroom? How does it make our friends feel when we share? How does it feel when we don’t share? (have students show the feelings on their bodies and discuss how our bodies feel physically when we are happy and when we are upset)

Set up intentional opportunities for students to share such as limited supplies in small group activities, math and literature centers and free choice play centers.

our treeOur Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel

Compelling Questions to Explore:

  • What are the qualities of a good friend?
  • What qualities of a good friend do you think we should demonstrate in our classroom? How can we use those qualities?


sandwich swapThe Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Compelling Question to Explore:

  • Should we have just one friend or lots of friends?




Reread the book and explore one or more of these compelling questions…

  • Should we always tell the truth?
  • Should we take sides when friends are arguing or stay neutral?
  • Should we have friends that like different things than we do?

two of a kindRead Two of a Kind by Jacqui Robbins

Explore the same compelling questions as The Sandwich Swap through the experiences in this book. Compare and contrast.



note: book titles are linked to


Building the Joy of Reading

Kathy Collins and Matt Glover remind us of a critical component of reading instruction for our young learners:
It’s vital that we support young children’s reading in ways that nurture healthy reading identities, that foster an attraction to books and a love of reading, and that teach them how to make meaning in any text they choose, whether or not they can read the words.

—Kathy Collins and Matt Glover, I Am Reading, published by Heinemann

This fostering of a love of reading to connect with others, to gather information, to hear a great story, to laugh, cry or rejoice, etc. starts when a child is born and continues throughout life.
Allison and Watson (1994) in their article, The significance of adult storybook reading styles on the development of young children’s emergent reading, support the idea of reading to infants as young as 0-3 months. They found that the earlier teachers and parents began reading to children, the higher the child’s emergent reading level is at the end of kindergarten. Bredekamp and Copple in the book, Developmentally Appropriate Practice Third Edition, published by NAEYC, share with us that reading aloud to children is a developmentally appropriate practice starting as young as infants. 

Continue reading “Building the Joy of Reading”