“Words and Your Heart” by Kate Jane Neal is such a beautiful book about feelings. The message is a profound message for students (and adults) to read or hear. It teaches the power of words and how we can use our words to harm and heal. There are so many amazing discussions that this can open up with students.
There are simple illustrations that allow the message of the book to truly shine through. This beautiful book was a favorite from the second I picked it up and is an important book for all to read, young and old alike. We can brighten someone’s day, inspire them to keep trying, help others stay positive…but if we aren’t careful, words can hurt too.
Skills to teach with “Words and Your Heart”:
- Making connections
5 Favorite “Words and Your Heart” Activities
“Words and Your Heart” is such a great book to read to discuss the power of your words and the effect that words can have on you and on others. It opens the door to talk about expressing your feelings and being aware of others' feelings too. Approaching others' feelings thoughtfully and sometimes carefully is an important lesson that students will walk away with when you share this deeply meaningful book.
1. What makes you happy?
Throughout the book, the author shares how powerful words are to our hearts. And many times and many things make us feel happy…and it is fun to reflect on those things. There are times when friends, teachers, coaches, parents, family, etc. have said something that has made our hearts light up and want to sing.
Students can reflect on a time that made them feel happy and draw a picture of that time. It does not have to be something someone said, but just anytime that they were so happy they could sing!
2. Reflecting on your own words:
“Words and Your Heart” is full of thought-provoking ideas and many parts will make you and your students want to reflect on situations from your own lives. We all have felt bad and know that words can hurt when someone has said something hurtful to us. But, we also may have been the ones to cause that hurt too, and reflecting on those times can help us be better in the future. Students can think about a time that their words hurt someone else and think of what they could have done differently in that situation. Helping students think of times may involve a fight with a friend or sibling or a disagreement with a parent.
3. Words that make you laugh:
There are some times that we just can't stop laughing! The jokes, situations, mishaps, stories, etc. that make us laugh until we can't laugh anymore are the ones that we remember. Students can be silly and write about a time that they just couldn't stop laughing. This will remind them of times where words bring joy and laughter.
4. Changing someone's heart:
One of the most powerful parts of the book is the realization that your words can change the way that someone's heart feels…for better or for worse. You can use encouraging, motivating, kind words to help someone feel better when they are down. Students can think of encouraging phrases or words they could say to someone to help change their heart.
5. Looking after each other's hearts:
Not only can we change someone's heart, but we can also look after it too. We can think about how our words can affect someone else and their feelings and carefully choose the way we talk to them. We can think of our own feelings and what would help our hearts and pass that on to others too.
Students can write about what they can say when friends are feeling certain ways.
“Words and Your Heart” is such a beautiful book to share with your students. Your students will feel loved, empowered, and confident to use their words to express their feelings and to help others. We have the power to help or heal with our words and the words we choose affect others in many ways.
I hope you and your students love it!
You can grab a free one-page guide for using this book in your classroom here:
You can find more of my favorite read-aloud books HERE.
And read more about why I think reading aloud is so important HERE.
You might like this blog post about self-love.