Before telling you my favorite growth mindset books for the classroom, I first want to explain why it’s so important to teach and discuss having a growth mindset with your students.
What is a “Growth Mindset”
“Growth mindset is the idea that, with effort, it’s possible to increase intelligence levels, talents, and abilities. Students who demonstrate a growth mindset believe their abilities develop over time, tend to seek out opportunities to gain new knowledge and broaden their skills, and do not typically shy away from challenges” (Kazakoff & Mitchell, 2017)(Lexia 2017).
Why It’s Important
It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a person believes in themself. Mistakes become lessons and opportunities for growth while success becomes even better. However, having a growth mindset dwindles away year after year beginning as early as elementary school.
In my opinion, teaching children to have a growth mindset takes precedent over the many other things we teach from day to day. I know that may sound crazy, but if a student looks at a word problem and immediately thinks “This looks hard. I can’t do it.” How likely are they to succeed?
If students understand that their brain is capable of overcoming challenges and continue to preserve despite their obstacles. Eventually having a growth mindset will become habitual. Now think about what that truly means for our students? This means that they are limitless as long as they choose to be.
For example, a young girl that is struggling in math may believe that she just “isn’t good at math” or “she wasn’t born with a mathematical brain.” However, by having a growth mindset, this young girl will understand that she wasn’t “born” lacking anything and she is not genetically determined to “fail.” She will know that there are multiple ways to learn and she will continue to persevere, improve her math skills, and as a result bolster her confidence.
To begin promoting a growth mindset in the classroom, here are a few of my favorite growth mindset books.
3 Simple Ways to Teach Students How to Have a Growth Mindset
1. Read your students books that demonstrate a growth mindset. Afterwards, allow for a class discussion. If you read one of the books I’ve listed below, your students will want to talk about them. Then when these “fixed mindset situations” arise in class, refer to the characters and encourage students to make those connections.
2. Model, model, model. They look up to us and we spend 7+ hours a day with them. We have a greater influence than we think. Show them what it looks like to have a growth mindset and they will follow.
3. Praise them. Praise them when they have demonstrate having a growth mindset. Praise them when they’ve worked hard and kept trying despite difficulty.
Growth Mindset Books for the Classroom
She Persisted is a wonderful book that highlights the success and triumphs of other women from around the world. The author illustrates how these women didn’t take “no” for an answer and persisted through life’s difficulties.
Otis the Bulldog’s Very Big Excuses
Otis is an adorable bulldog who spends the day hanging out with his sister. Eventually, he’s asked to clean up and get ready for a party; however, Otis continues to make excuse after excuse until it’s too late. Otis the Bulldog’s Very Big Excuses is less about having a growth mindset, but rather teaching children the importance of not making excuses.
Firebird is a beautifully written story about Misty Copeland who encourages a young ballet student to continue practicing. The author illustrates how every professional and expert started as a beginner.
After the Fall
After the Fall is somewhat of a sequel to the old nursery rhyme. Humpty Dumpty tells the reader about his deep fear of heights, until one day he is motivated to climb the wall and start new.
What Do You Do With an Idea
What Do You Do With an Idea is a story of a child that has a small idea. Later he discovers that when he is brace and takes chances amazing things happen.
Thanks for the Feedback I Think
This story is about a boy named RJ who received compliments and feedback throughout the day. However he struggles to respond appropriately. By the end of the book, RJ learns what it means to receive positive and negative feedback.
Wonder is a well known story about a boy Auggie with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. However, he preservers despite all the struggles he face throughout the book and changed the lives of the people around him.
Fish in a Tree is a story about a young girl with dyslexia. Thanks to the help of her teacher and a few good friends, she improves her life for the better and starts to see dyslexia as a strength.
The Wild Robot
The Wild Robot is a book ideal for middle school students about a discarded robot who finds love and a sense of belonging on an island of animals.
If you are looking for additional growth mindset activities and resources to use in the classroom click here.
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