Bullying Hurts by Lester L. Laminack, Reba M. Wadsworth. Teaching
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Bullying Hurts
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Bullying Hurts

Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations

By Lester L. Laminack, Reba M. Wadsworth

Lester and Reba show how the read-aloud, a familiar and proven instructional technique, can be used as a powerful way to neutralize bullying behaviors, create community in the classroom, and help you meet national and state standards at the same time.

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“We believe focused read aloud experiences with carefully selected children’s literature followed by guided conversations is one way you can create a climate in your classroom, school, or district where bullying is not an accepted or rewarded behavior.  A climate where an individual’s humanity and human dignity trump any difference(s) and kindness is the order of the day.” Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth

Bullying Hurts is not your same-old anti-bullying guide.  Lester Laminack and Reba Wadsworth show how the read aloud, a familiar and proven instructional technique, can be used as a powerful way to neutralize bullying behaviors, create community in the classroom,  and help you meet the Common Core State Standards at the same time.

Recent research shows that punishing students who bully is not enough, that we must begin every child’s education by establishing relationship skills and building empathy among students.  Lester and Reba recommend a series of read aloud books that focus on our shared humanity and can be used on day one of Kindergarten and throughout the elementary years.  They help you support the development of children’s insight and compassion.  Bullying Hurts guides students toward increased understandings about bullying behavior with a framework of five recommended read-alouds and accompanying lessons that help you:

  • define and discuss the important lessons about bullying embedded in each book
  • develop literacy skills and strategies, conversation, critical thinking, character analysis, and reflection
  • connect read aloud experiences to the anchor standards for reading in the Common Core.

Bullying Hurts does more than help children gain the insights and language needed to confront and neutralize the behaviors of bullies.  It convinces us that by working together, we really can prevent bullying.


Chapter 1: Working Toward Kindness, Civility, and Human Compassion as an Integral Part of the Curriculum
Chapter 2: Getting Started: We Have So Much in Common
Chapter 3: Moving In: There Are Ways in Which We Are Different - Not Less Than Others, Not Better Than Others, Just Different
Chapter 4: Inside the Circle: Thinking, Feeling, Acting
Chapter 5: At the Core: When Others Are Not Thoughtful, Caring, and Kind
Chapter 6: Getting Focused for Action: An Opportunity to Explore the Actions of Others, Reflect on Our Own Feelings, and Redirect Our Behaviors Toward Fellow Human Beings
Chapter 7: Final Thoughts
Appendix A: Additional Texts to Support Working Through the Layers
Appendix B: Sample Parent/Guardian/Caregiver Letter
Appendix C: Sample Antibullying Pledge
Appendix D: Activities for Community Building
Appendix E: Resources for Educators



“Perhaps the most important skill one should acquire to be ready for any college or any career, to be a productive part of any community, is kindness.  Lester and Reba remind us of the critical importance of teaching kindness in Bullying Hurts and then they do better than that: they take us into classrooms and show us, step-by-step and book-by-book, how we can use literature to help students become the empathetic, caring, kind people this world desperately needs.  You won’t just read this book, you’ll use it.” Kylene Beers, author of When Kids Can’t Read/What Teachers Can Do

Related PD Services


Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Lester L. Laminack directly about professional development support. Email planningservices@heinemann.com if you would like to contact Reba M. Wadsworth directly about professional development support.