10 Read Aloud Books for Teaching Growth Mindset

At the beginning of the school year, I always have a few students who want to give up quickly. It breaks my heart when I hear my students use phrases like "I can't read." or "I'm not smart." Many of these students have what Harvard Psychologist Carol Dweck calls a "Fixed Mindset." She says: "Fixed mindset assumes that intelligence and other qualities, abilities, and talents are fixed traits that cannot be significantly developed." (Carol Dweck, 2007) Students who have a fixed mindset believe that everyone is who is good at reading, math, or any other skill, was born that way, and that there is nothing they can do to improve their own skills.

My goal, is to help all of my students develop a "Growth Mindset." Carol Dweck says : "Growth Mindset assumes that intelligence and other qualities, abilities, and talents can be developed with effort, learning and dedication." (Carol Dweck, 2007) Students with are ready and willing to learn. They know that if they are not skilled at something, they can gain the skills they desire through learning and practice. When we teach growth mindset, we are teaching our students that they have the ability to control their life and circumstances.

Teaching growth mindset will also change the way our students feel about mistakes. Students with a fixed mindset believe that mistakes are due to an unchangeable flaw within themselves. Students who have a growth mindset know that mistakes are part of the learning process and if they persevere with their learning, they will make fewer mistakes in the future.

One great way to teach growth mindset is through read alouds. The characters in the stories allow students to see the change in attitude from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. I think the read alouds allow the students to "see" growth mindset rather that just being "told" about growth mindset from their teachers.

Below you will find a list of read aloud books that feature growth mindset. If you are interested in reading more about growth mindset yourself, I suggest you read Carol Dweck's book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Growth Mindset Read Alouds:

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Every night, the jungle animals get together to dance. But, Gerald can't dance. After some encouragement from a friend, Gerald practices and becomes one of the best dancers in the jungle. Get it here.

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

This story tells the story of a little blue engine that uses perseverance to pull a heavy load up a hill where others failed. Get it here.

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

This book shows how mistakes can be used to transform artwork into something beautiful. Get it here.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka

This guide captures the emotional process of learning to ride a bike. If you contiune to get up after you fall you will finally have that sucessful ride. Get it here.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett

9 year old Beatrice learns an important lesson when she makes her first ever mistake. Get it here.

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Louie doesn't want to tell his story unless he can tell it perfectly. After he takes a deep breath, he learns that his story is perfect-mistakes and all. Get it here.

Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully

This book tells the true story of Maragret "Mattie" E. Knight, a female inventor. When a man claimed that women could not understand mechanical complexities and tired to claim Mattie's invention for his own, she proved him wrong. Get it here.

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Willie really wants to be able to whistle. After practicing, and practicing he finally learns how. Get it here.

Flight School by Lita Judge

A little penguin wants to fly. With perseverance and creativity he is able to make his dream come true.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant

This book tells the true story of, Horace Pippin, an artist who suffered a severe arm injury in war. He learns how to overcome his injury to continue making art.

Do you know of a book I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.

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