Growth Mindset Tips, Ideas, & Read Alouds for K-2

February 12, 2022

Do you teach your students about growth mindset? These tips and book ideas are perfect to use in kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade classrooms!

Before I begin, I wanted to let you know you can watch or listen to all this information in video format below:

Before I share some tips for teaching your students about growth mindset, I wanted to go over 3 common mistakes that teachers make when teaching growth mindset. These can often create a “false growth mindset” so we want to be mindful to avoid these. Often when a topic becomes really popular quickly, like growth mindset, sometimes we, as teachers, just dive in right away without knowing all the research behind it first! Carol Dweck is a great resource for learning more about growth mindset, so be sure to check her out!


She shares these 3 common mistakes to watch for:

Praising Effort Alone

It is great to see your students putting in a lot of effort and trying really hard in the classroom! We should be praising their hard work, however, if you notice your student is trying their best but still not making any progress, then you need to have them step back and re-evaluate what they are doing. You don’t want your students wasting all their effort doing the same thing over and over again if it’s not helping them grow and get closer to their goals. Instead, you want to encourage them to try new strategies and different ways of doing things until they find what works.

We want effort and progress to go hand-in-hand.


Using the Phrase “You can do anything!”

The sentiment and encouragement behind the phrase is great, but we don’t want to give our students any false promises. While our students can do anything, we don’t want them to go into a new challenge with that empty phrase. Instead, we need to help students develop a realistic path to help them succeed!


Blaming Student Mindset

When we see a student not progressing, we want to be careful not to blame it on their mindset, whether we are doing it directly or indirectly. Instead, we want to make sure we are teaching them about growth mindset and how we can reframe our thinking.



Once we keep those things top of mind, read alouds can be a GREAT way to introduce students to the topic of growth mindset and actually see it in action! I wanted to share some of my favorite read alouds do discuss growth mindset.

1. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Jo Ann Deak.

I love this book because it is science-based. Growth mindset is a real, scientific phenomenon that is studied by brain and learning scientists around the world. It is a very interesting concept that I encourage you all to read more about! 

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is a nonfiction book with wonderful diagrams and illustrations to teach your students all about the brain in a kid-friendly way. To go with the growth mindset theme, the book also explains how our brains can stretch and grow as we try to learn new things & how making mistakes is one of the best ways our brains can grow and learn.

You can check out the book by clicking the image above!


2. Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson

I love this book because it is an inspiring true story about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. Emmanuel was born in Ghana with only one working leg, but he never let that stop him. His mother used to carry him back and forth from school until he got older and was too heavy to be carried. Instead of quitting, he hopped 2 miles each way to continue going to school. When he saw his friends riding bikes, he tried over and over again until was finally able to balance and could ride a bike along with them. Emmanuel’s mother eventually got too sick to work, so Emmanuel went out to find a job to provide for his family.

However, when no one would hire him because of his leg, Emmanuel revisited his plan, changed what needed to be changed, and came up with a new idea to ride his bike all around the country to meet with other people with disabilities. Emmanuel’s new plan was extremely successful and he was able to inspire people around the world, and he even got a disability act passed in Ghana to help people like him. 

Emmanuel’s Dream is such an inspiring story that shows students that they can overcome so many challenges, achieve their dreams, and even change the world as long as they have the right mindset. 

You can check out the book by clicking the image above.


3. Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty

Iggy Peck Architect is an adorable rhyming book about a little boy named Iggy Peck who has been an architect since he was only 2 years old. He built all kinds of crazy structures out of random materials like dirty diapers, apples, and dirt. Everyone was supportive of Iggy, except for his 2nd grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. Based on her own past experiences, Miss Lila Greer would not allow Iggy to talk about buildings and shut down his dreams of being an architect. Until one day Iggy and his 2nd-grade class were stuck on a field trip. It was Iggy’s knowledge and skills about architecture that saved them all, including Miss Lila Greer. From then on, she was supportive of his dream to be an architect.

I like this book because it is a great lesson for our young learners who have big dreams. At some point in our life, we will likely come across someone like Miss Lila Greer who will discourage us from following our goals and might crush our dreams. That is why we should teach our students about growth mindset, so we can show them how to persevere and come up with a plan to achieve their goals so that they can succeed!


So there are some of my favorite tips and read alouds to keep in mind when teaching growth mindset to your students! Do you have other book suggestions to share that really feature growth mindset?! Let us know down in the comments!


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