October is Bullying Prevention Month, and it coincides with the start of the school year. Children are back in the classroom after months of summer freedom, many of them adjusting not only to the environs of a new grade but a new school entirely, in addition to taking on an increased academic workload. Kids respond to such changes — and new faces — in different ways. Teasing or bullying can be an all-too-familiar shadow of a child’s learning experience.
Bullying can occur at any grade level, and the perpetrator or victim can be any age. Beginning a dialogue with your child about what bullying is, how to recognize it when it’s happening, and where and when to report it is essential to preventing unwanted stress in your child’s life.
For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with bullying prevention experts to identify a set of tips, articles and books that make starting a conversation with your child about bullying easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.
For children in kindergarten or beginning elementary school:
Children entering grade school may experience — or witness — bullying for the first time. Prepare your child for these interactions with When Words Hurt, an e-lesson from Scholastic News magazine that explores definitions of bullying as well as ways your child can react to it.
Lauren Tarshis’ How Can You Help When Someone Is Being Bullied? from Scholastic Storyworks is a great read-aloud piece that illustrates how safe intervention practices can stop bullying.
As these are still prime read-aloud years for you and your child, you may want to get some extra “together time” in by reading The Bully from the Black Lagoon.
For children in or approaching middle school:
Middle school is a difficult time of transition for many. Tales of a Former Bully and Should You Stand Up to a Bully? are short articles from Scholastic News that you can read with your child to engage in conversation about bullying and how to stop it. Questions at the end of each piece help to deepen your child’s reading comprehension of the material.
Books for this age group (whether fiction or nonfiction) are consistent in their handling of themes like bullying and individuality. When your child is ready for chapter books, introduce them to R.J. Palacio’s best-selling Wonder series. Millions of readers have embraced the tale of Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy born with an extraordinary face. Gordon Korman’s Restart and Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty are two more novels that tell inspiring stories of outsiders.
Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for resources on bullying and other must-discuss topics, like empathy.
Explore more books about bullying and kindness below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.