Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Reading to Develop Emotional Literacy: Sad

This is the third post in a series about reading narrative books to develop emotional literacy. For the first post (introduction),   click here . For the second post about "happy" emotions,  click here .


This weekly blog series discusses how narrative books help students develop emotional and literary skills. Today, we will focus on the feeling of being "sad."

In   Dragon’s Friend   from the   Joy Cowley Early Birds   series, Dragon is sad because he has no friends. This topic may be   especially potent for your class at the beginning of the year when students are still trying to adjust to a new classroom environment and make new friends . Not only does this story present a solution to sad emotions,   Dragon’s Friend   also teaches your students how to help when someone else is feeling sad.


Before reading:

  • As a group, brainstorm different things you can do when someone you know is feeling sad.
p. 2:
  • How do you think Dragon is feeling?
  • Encourage students to put themselves into Dragon’s shoes.   How would you feel if you didn’t have a friend? Identifying  synonyms and related words such as “lonely” and “unhappy” will help your students build a rich emotional vocabulary.
p. 4:
  • Which words tell you that Dragon is sad? ( cried/crying)   How does the illustration tell you?
p. 8:
  • Discuss the meaning that Dragon found in the paper dragon. Clarify the meaning of the sentence “You cared about me!”
p. 14:
  • How does the illustration show that Dragon isn’t sad anymore?
p. 16:
  • How do you think Dragon and the children are feeling at the end?

Extension Activity:

  • Create your own classroom dragon! Cut a large dragon out of poster or butcher paper. Ask all your students to contribute coloring the dragon’s body, wings and tail. This joint art activity will foster peer interaction amongst all your students. Hang the dragon on the wall. Any time a student feels comforted or cared for by a friend, help the student write a thank you note on a post-it and place it on the dragon. Over the year, the once lonely dragon will become filled with acts of compassionate friendship!

Next week, we will visit the emotion of anger. Subscribe on the right-hand sidebar to receive e-mail updates about new blog posts! 


Click the image below to download a informational sheet about   Joy Cowley Early Birds , which includes the book featured in this article.