5 Tools to engage students in Social Emotional Learning and Science of Reading

engaging students in social emotional learning
Harness the power of engaging students in social emotional learning and the science of reading.

Engage students in Social Emotional Learning and Science of Reading

Are you looking for ways to engage your students in meaningful learning experiences that can have a lasting impact on their understanding of social emotional learning and the science of reading? Teaching these concepts is not always easy, but with some thoughtful planning and creative instruction, it is possible to create lessons that are engaging and immersive for all your students.

In this blog post, I will show you how I implement strategies such as inquiry-based activities, real-world application exercises, and coordinated literacy events into my teaching practice to make social emotional learning and the science of reading come alive in the classroom. By the end of this blog post you should also feel both inspired by what’s possible as well as confident in your ability to plan effective lessons that tap into these important topics.

Introducing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to Your Classroom

As educators, our primary goal is to facilitate the growth and development of our students, not just academically, but also socially and emotionally. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) in classrooms around the world. SEL is the process through which we teach students how to understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, and build healthy relationships with their peers.

The science of reading has also highlighted the significance of SEL in the development of literacy skills. By introducing SEL skills in our classrooms, we can create a safe and supportive environment that promotes student success both inside and outside the classroom.

happy kids in morning meeting
Students are engaged in Social Emotional Learning.

Benefits of Implementing SEL Strategies

Students who possess strong social skills tend to communicate better, work effectively in groups, and handle tough situations with ease. In fact, research suggests that social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies can improve academic performance, behavior, and overall well-being in students of all ages. Implementation of these strategies can help students develop essential life skills, such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship-building. With the inclusion of SEL strategies in the curriculum, students can gain a deeper understanding of the importance of social skills in their daily lives, leading to a more productive and fulfilling future.

I introduce SEL vocabulary during morning meeting at the beginning of the school year and encourage my students to use it throughout the year. It becomes a big part of our classroom culture.

students holding social emotional learning vocabulary
Students learn this SEL vocabulary and it becomes a part of our classroom culture.

Introducing the Science of Reading to Your Classroom

As an educator, there is nothing more fulfilling for me than watching my students develop the skills they need to become lifelong learners. One of the most critical skills they must have is the ability to read well, and to comprehend what they read. To achieve this, introducing the science of reading into your classroom is essential. It focuses on teaching phonics, phonemic awareness, reading with fluency, building vocabulary, and enhancing their reading comprehension.

By utilizing scientifically-proven methods, you can help your students develop reading fluency that will improve their comprehension and help them navigate academic and real-world challenges. In turn, this can lead to significant advancements in their academic and personal lives.

The Components of Effective Reading Instruction

Effective reading instruction involves several key components that help students become proficient readers. One critical component is phonemic awareness, which refers to the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds within words. Similarly, phonics instruction teaches students about the relationship between letters and sounds, enabling them to decode words when reading. Vocabulary development is another critical component, as it allows students to understand the meaning of words they encounter while reading. Fluency involves reading with speed, accuracy, and expression, and it is essential for developing reading comprehension skills.

Speaking of comprehension, this is perhaps the most important component of effective reading instruction. Comprehension involves understanding the meaning of what is being read, making connections between different concepts, and being able to answer questions about the text. Incorporating each of these components into reading instruction can help students become confident, skilled readers.

In our SEL Bundle, there is numerous opportunities to do this. We have an emergent reader with the real photos that are also on the vocabulary word wall cards, fluency sheet where the kids read the words from the reader on the sheet 3 times, then circle the SEL vocabulary, and answer questions. Then there are cut and paste sheets where they put words in sentence order using that same vocabulary. We have also included interactive digital Boom Cards that include audio on every card!

Increasing Student Engagement Through Interactive Activities

Engaging students in the learning process is one of the most effective ways to ensure academic success. Interactive activities are essential to increasing student engagement, and I have discovered that a thematic teaching approach is a surefire way to keep my students interested and invested in the curriculum. For instance, using a song with movement to teach a particular concept or theme can be an engaging way for students to remember important information.

I introduce the quality student song from the SEL pack in my morning meeting. After we sing the song, we discuss the vocabulary. It is a great way to interact with students and ensure they understand the words . By introducing activities that bring real-world relevance to the classroom and promote collaborative learning, I can create a dynamic learning environment that encourages critical thinking, creativity, and a love for learning.

Learning Social Emotional Learning by singing with movement
A fun activity to do for Social Emotional Learning is singing with movement.

5 Tools for Making SEL and Reading Fun in the Classroom

Creating a dynamic and interactive classroom environment has never been easier thanks to the latest tools for promoting social-emotional learning and reading in the classroom. Incorporating movement, song, engaging discussions, relatable themes, and real pictures help my students develop essential skills while having fun in the process. With the right tools, teachers can enhance their lesson plans and make their classroom an exciting and stimulating place to learn.

These interactive Boom Cards encourage students to explore concepts in unique ways. They can help students cultivate their creativity, boost their reading skills, and build important social-emotional competencies in a fun and engaging way. The real pictures help students to make better connections to the SEL vocabulary.


Ultimately, Social Emotional Learning and reading are both essential for student success. Both of these aspects of learning offer a foundation for the classroom environment. By introducing social emotional learning strategies and concepts to students, classrooms provide safe, inclusive spaces for all learners to thrive in.

Additionally, providing effective reading instruction with all 5 elements of Science of Reading is key to ensure meaningful interactions with texts. With the right tools and activities in place, educational experiences can become both engaging and beneficial.

Therefore, as we head into the new school year, be sure to consider incorporating SEL strategies and the science of reading into your classroom! Grab this Back to School SEL resource to  help  build a positive  classroom  culture.

Click on the image below to see more!

back to school SEL reading
These back to school SEL resources will help promote a positive classroom culture.


This new pack has the same words as the book above. It is on a single sheet as a poem or a song, pocket chart center to build the poem, a fill in the blank sheet to complete with the center, same vocabulary worksheets and word wall cards as the resource above, sight word sheets, fluency sheet with questions to use for an assessment.

back to school sel reading and vocabulary activities
Students increase reading comprehension and build SEL vocabulary with these activities.

Until Next Time,

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