Teaching perseverance is so important. Kids do not have this trait engrained in them. It has to be nurtured. Kids struggle with things all the time, but one way we can help them learn to not give up is to use mentor texts with themes of determination and perseverance. Literature that models these skills can make a huge difference. In this post, I’ll share five books that I love that help model and build perseverance.
Teaching Perseverance with Thank You Mr. Falker:
The first choice for me is Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. In fact, I think many of her books include themes of perseverance. I start with this book every year, and my favorite scene is when her grandfather pours the honey on the book to show the sweetness of reading. I’ve thought about doing that in class many times, but I treasure my library so much that I hate the thought of ruining the books. When I share it, I swear, I look a little like this by the end. Anyone else?
The thing about this book that gets to me is the image of Patricia actually living through years of heartache and no one noticing. I think it’s honestly a book that has motivated me to be the teacher I am today. I just can’t bear the thought of a child leaving my class with reading issues going unnoticed. (so I’m off the topic of perseverance a bit there…sorry). Anyway, children who struggle need to realize they are not alone and that through hard work and focused assistance, they are not destined to a life of poor reading. Click HERE to check out my unit or use the buy now button below.
Using Amazing Grace for teaching Perseverance
The second book I just love is Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. The book has a black female named Grace as the main character, and Grace has grown up spending most of her life in dramatic play. She shoots up her hand when her class is getting ready to assign roles for Peter Pan, and Grace wants to be Peter. Naturally, there are some who believe she has no place in the cast much less in the lead because A: She’s a girl. AND B: She is black.
Grace has moments when she fails to believe in herself, but when this happens, her grandmother, who has been her mentor for a long, long time, calls her on it. She pushes her to believe in herself and work harder to earn the role (perseverance). There are so many life lessons in this one, and it is a must teach in third to fourth grades.
Wilma Unlimited, a model in not giving Up
Wilma Rudolph had a terrible disease as a child that nearly caused her to lose the ability to walk. However, she was determined to not only walk, but run! And that she did! This wonderful text is perfect for Black History Month, Biography Studies, or as a writing exemplar. You can view my resource HERE or grab it with the link to the right.
Have you read the book, Brave irene?
Brave Irene is another wonderful text you can use for teaching perseverance. Irene is tasked with the job of delivering a dress to duchess. Here mother is terribly ill, and Irene helps her out. However, the weather did not cooperate. Irene does not give up even when things are challenging.
William Steig is a master writer, and this book is a wonderful writing mentor text. You can write about Brave moments while teaching perseverance too. The theme of the book is easy to recognize and provides a great example for your students.
Daisy Comes home…at last!
Daisy is a sweet chicken that wanders off and gets lost. Mei Mei is distraught and hunts all over the place for her with no success. But, she does not give up on finding her feathered friend.
This is a fun book to use if you’d like to explore life in China and traditions. Jan Brett and her husband spent a long time in China researching and preparing for this book.
When you use this book, you can also pair it with nonfiction about chickens to explore the vast differences between breeds, nonfiction about China to learn more about this country, or farming nonfiction texts. Younger children enjoy learning about all of these related topics.
Other related blog posts you might like:
- MENTOR TEXTS THAT WILL INSPIRE YOUR STRUGGLING READERS
- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GOAL SETTING WITH YOUR STUDENTS
- 5 POWERFUL MENTOR TEXTS THAT MODEL AND ENCOURAGE GOAL SETTING
How do you teach perseverance?
Teaching perseverance is something we can do in conjunction with other content lessons. All students need to grow their stamina for hard things. We learn not to give up when things are hard through practice. We learn to achieve and persevere in order to meet our goals.
What are your favorite books for teaching perseverance? Share them in the comments below.