Caring for those in Need

Creating Success with Classroom Expectations: Five Inspiring Children’s Books for Students with Disabilities

As special education professionals, we recognize the significance of teaching expectations and fostering positive behavior in the classroom. However, the importance of these lessons extends beyond the school walls.

BY Jenn Adams | August 2023 | Category: Schools, Camps & Residences

Creating Success with Classroom Expectations: Five Inspiring Children’s Books for Students with Disabilities

Parents also play a crucial role in reinforcing appropriate behaviors at home. During the back-to-school time: many schedules, structures, and routines are taught and implemented. Listed below are five exceptional children’s books that not only teach about classroom expectations, but also serve as valuable resources for parents and teachers of children with disabilities. These stories offer powerful narratives and engaging illustrations that instill essential values, social skills, and behavior expectations. These captivating books bridge the gap between classrooms and homes! 

The Importance of Teaching Expectations in the Classroom:

Establishing clear expectations in the classroom is essential for creating a positive and productive learning environment for all students. Teaching expectations helps students understand boundaries, develop self-regulation skills, and cultivate positive relationships with peers and teachers. By explicitly teaching and reinforcing behavioral expectations, we provide students with a sense of structure and consistency, which enhances their overall academic and social-emotional development. 

The Importance of Reinforcing Expectations at Home:

The lessons learned in the classroom can be further reinforced at home, creating a harmonious connection between school and the child’s everyday life. When parents collaborate with teachers to reinforce expectations and behavior, children experience a seamless transition between school and home environments. Consistency in expectations helps children generalize and internalize appropriate behaviors, promoting their overall growth and success.

Here are a few captivating children’s books that promote classroom expectations, while also serving as valuable resources for parents. 

The Recess Queen

by Alexis O’Neill

Synopsis: The Recess Queen follows the story of Mean Jean, the Recess Queen, who learns the value of kindness, respect, and inclusion when a new student arrives. This beautifully illustrated book encourages discussions about friendship, cooperation, and resolving conflicts peacefully.

Why It’s Helpful: By reading and discussing The Recess Queen, both teachers and parents can engage children in conversations about the importance of respect, empathy, and cooperation. These lessons can be reinforced both at school and at home, promoting positive social interactions in various settings. 

No, David!

by David Shannon

Synopsis: Based on the author’s childhood experiences, No, David! tells the story of a mischievous little boy named David, who often tests the boundaries of acceptable behavior. This book showcases the love and guidance of a parent who helps David learn right from wrong.

Why It’s Helpful: No, David! serves as a valuable tool for teachers and parents alike. It allows them to address impulse control, consequences, and responsible decision-making. By reading this book together, parents and teachers can reinforce consistent behavioral expectations and help children understand the importance of self-regulation. 

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker

by Christianne C. Jones

Synopsis: Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker is the tale of a talkative girl who learns the importance of active listening, turn-taking, and effective communication. Lacey’s journey helps children understand the value of balanced conversation and respectful communication.

Why It’s Helpful: This book offers a platform for teachers and parents to discuss effective communication strategies, active listening, and conversation etiquette. Reinforcing these skills at home and in the classroom enables children to navigate social interactions with greater ease and success. 

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen

by Howard Binkow

Synopsis: Howard, a curious rabbit, faces challenges in paying attention and listening. Through entertaining adventures, Howard discovers the benefits of attentive listening, following directions, and focusing on tasks.

Why It’s Helpful: Teaching attentive listening skills is crucial for children with disabilities. Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen provides engaging stories that highlight the importance of active listening and respectful behavior. Parents and teachers can collaborate in supporting children’s listening skills and ensuring a consistent approach that enhances their learning experiences. 

The Way I Act

by Steve Metzger

Synopsis: The Way I Act celebrates diverse personalities and behaviors in a positive light. This book explores different character traits, emotions, and values, such as: responsibility, honesty, and kindness, while fostering a sense of acceptance and empathy.

Why It’s Helpful: This book empowers parents and teachers to promote self-reflection, self-acceptance, and empathy in children with disabilities. By emphasizing positive values and reinforcing appropriate behaviors, parents and teachers can create an inclusive environment that supports children’s social-emotional growth, both inside and outside the classroom. 

Teaching expectations is essential for creating a positive and structured learning environment in both the classroom and the home. By extending these lessons into the home, parents can reinforce the values and behaviors taught at school. Collaborating with parents enables a consistent approach, allowing children to generalize and internalize appropriate behaviors across various settings. Through the captivating children’s books mentioned above, teachers and parents can work together to instill essential values and social skills, while helping the child have success with behavior expectations. Let’s foster a supportive partnership between classrooms and homes, ensuring the success and well-being of our exceptional learners for this back-to-school season. 


Jenn Adams is a special education and elementary teacher living and work in Pennsylvania. She has taught in multiple classrooms, grade levels and settings including regular education, special education, and alternative education. She has taught grades Pre-K, 1st, and 5th-12.Currently, Jenn works for a public cyber charter school teaching students in grades 5th through 8th in an autistic support virtual classroom. Jenn obtained her Bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education in 2007 from Millersville University. She also obtained her Master’s degree in 2014 in special education from Saint Joseph’s University. Jenn also added the credentials of becoming a registered behavior technician (RBt) working closely with students with autism and intellectual disabilities working with principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Lastly, Jenn is currently pursuing her principal’s certificate from California University of PA. In her 14 years in education she truly has found that building relationships is what needs to come first and loves learning new ways to reach her students. During her time not spent in the classroom Jenn conducts parent training with colleagues in the special education field and provides information through her blog, website, and social media channels all called Teach Love Autism. Jenn also works hard every day to find a work and life balance and believes that is the key to happiness in doing what you love. 

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