Key Takeaways

  • Teachers and students often feel anxious and nervous while preparing for an upcoming test.
  • Providing restorative breaks for your students is a great way to calm nerves and destress before the big test.
  • Read-alouds not only keep your students engaged in learning, they’re the perfect brain break to complement other calming strategies like meditation.
  • We get it–the season of preparing for tests can be pretty stressful for teachers and students. But Scholastic Book Clubs can help!

    As you begin to think about ways to prepare your students academically–whether teaching a new reading strategy or practicing a specific writing skill–be sure to also consider ways to prepare them emotionally.

    One of Scholastic Book Clubs’ 2018 Teacher Advisors suggests giving students a restorative brain break by reading aloud to them. Here’s how to do it: End your learning block a little early, put all your materials away, dim the lights, and then start reading. Encourage your students to follow along, draw a picture while you read, or simply put their heads down and rest—whatever feels best for them!

    Here are 5 of our top picks to share with your students. Each of these books can be used as brain breaks, to calm nerves, or to just enjoy. Check them out below!


    1. I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

    This sweet book is a soothing introduction to mindfulness meditation that helps children feel grounded in moments of stress, and then draws upon their courage to remember their true selves and feel whole again. This is a perfect read-aloud for any time of the day or year and can be read over and over again.

    2. What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom

    When your students need a boost of confidence, share this imaginative tale that shows how anyone–young or old–can approach the seemingly impossible . . . even if the seemingly impossible is a big test!

    3. For Every One by Jason Reynolds

    For Every One is a stirring and inspirational poem for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing more, being better, and rising to new heights. This book is a powerful read-aloud that will remind students of their dreams and their innate ability to achieve them. Teacher’s tip: There are lots of ways to read this book with your students–you read aloud to your whole class, or have your students share in the reading. After each section, engage in a class discussion to encourage your students to reflect on what they’ve read.

    4. 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Precepts by R. J. Palacio

    In this book of quotes, each day of the year is marked by inspiring “words to live by” straight from Auggie’s beloved teacher. You could read a new quote every day of the school year or pick a few of your favorites to set the tone for the week.  

    5. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

    This inventive picture book is the perfect read-aloud to help students overcome their fear of failure. With each turn of the page, students will learn the importance of persistence when it comes to realizing one’s dreams.

    If you’re looking to add a few read-alouds to your classroom library that can be used as brain breaks and help to calm nerves, visit Scholastic Book Clubs. If you’re new to Clubs or Scholastic, just create an account and place your first order to start receiving free books and resources for your classroom!