Reading Body Language

Teaching Children to Read Body Language

People communicate through many forms: verbally, using sign language, or communication devices. People also use their body language to communicate with others.

Teaching your child or student how to read and understand body language is an important skill that will benefit them in social interactions.

There are four main components to consider when reading someone’s body language:

1.     Facial Expressions – look at their eyes and mouth for cues. Are they looking away a lot, letting their eyes wander as you speak? Is their mouth relaxed or in a tight line?

2.     Posture – how is their body positioned (mainly head, back, and shoulders)?

3.     Gestures – watch what they are doing with their hands. Are they pointing aggressively, giving you a polite wave?

4.     Stance – how are they standing and what are they doing with their arms?

Be sure to teach the big picture – someone may be standing with their hands on their hips, which alone may seem like an angry stance, but they may have a smile on their face and have relaxed posture. Taking these four components into account will help your students read and understand their peers’ body language.Watson’s educational consultants created a social skills module for educators to use when teaching this topic. The module includes activities, homework assignments, and magnet cards. 

The special education resources on this page were authored by Watson Institute’s special education consultant, Andrea Morris, M.Ed.

Powerpoint Presentation:

I Can Read Body Language

I Can Read Body Language Facilitator’s Guide

Resource Materials:

I Can Read Body Language Activity

I Can Read Body Language Magnet Cards

I Can Read Body Language Mini Schedule

I Can Read Body Language Outline

I Can Read Body Language Parent Note

I Can Read Body Language Homework

I Can Read Body Language Teacher Note

Pre/Post Assessment

A pre and post lesson assessment is included in each lesson. Use of the assessment is an instructor preference.  Many of the ‘homework’ pages for a lesson can be used as a pre/post assessment device alone or as part of the provided assessment.  Each homework page can be checked by the instructor as well as the student.

Review all included pages of the lesson to determine what ‘assessment’ method will meet your needs.  If the student is able to achieve a + in the majority of items of the pre-assessment, or if the student has been observed to display the skill topic of the lesson often, then the lesson may not be introduced or can be taught with a group as review and/or reinforcement.

I Can Read Body Language Pre/Post Assessment

If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.