Teaching Civics with Children’s Literature: Know and Follow Rules


Introduction and Summary:
 Know and Follow Rules  was written by  Cheri J. Meiners, M. Ed. and illustrated by Meredith Johnson. The story takes place in a typical classroom. The narrator is explaining how in school there are rules and the rules must be followed. This book would be an excellent book for the beginning of the school year for younger students to introduce or re-introduce rules in school.  The opening line of the story is ” I go to school with my friends . We have rules to help us know what to do.”  I like this line because I think that children have such a negative connotation associated with rules because the rules are only brought up when the rules are broken. The explanations of rules in this book are great because they are simple enough for children who are in the younger grades. The book could also be read to children who are not even at school age  as an introduction to the structure of school. The book covers all the major rules in school like listening, following directions, keeping hand and feet to yourself, and sharing. The page about keeping your hands and feet to yourself has a great picture of the class in the lunch line and it shows not only the boys and girls keeping their hands and feet to themselves but it shows a good line. The book is short but gets the point across about how important rules are. The last four pages of the book is a guide for adults to help reinforce Know and Follow Rules. It gives some suggestions of lesson plans and provides a page by page guide for class discussion.  There is even a game suggestion called ” What’s the Rule?”. In the game, students help make up the classroom rules and then are given scenarios of student following and not following the rules. Student are to identify what rule is being followed or broken.

Curriculum Connections:
This book covers all of the K.8 SOLs for Civics. The one book cover all eight of the points that need to be taught in civics. Know and Follow Rules also can be incorporated into the first grade curriculum because it covers SOL 1.10 a,b,d,e and f. The book stresses all of the points of being a good citizen by following the rules and that you are responsible for your actions. These are valuable lessons that each student needs to understand.

Additional Resources :
Mrs. Levine’s Pre-K Pages has a specific page of rules and discipline. She has given great ideas on introducing rules and has provided several books to order on the topic. It says its for Pre-K but it would be helpful in kindergarten and first grade for the student who are still getting used to the structure of school and rules.

PBS Kids  has section for parents and teachers. I went visited the Arthur section and under life skills there are several activities that are on the topic of sharing and rule following. There are also episodes that coordinate with each topic and some have books that go with the topic.

How to Be a Good Citizen is a great lesson plan on how to teach citizenship. The site gives great definitions and there is link to download the entire lesson.The lesson is somewhat on track with SOLs but could be easily adjusted. It is great start if you are having a hard time coming up with ideas.

 General Information:
Book: Know and Follow Rules
Author: Cheri J. Meiners
Illustrator: Meredith Johnson
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Publication Dates: 2005
Pages: 35
Grade Range: ages 4-8

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