Books, reading, writing—all forms of literacy– have the power to transport children to different worlds and have experiences far wider than their own little world will allow. Analyzing stories and their content provides ample opportunities for children to cultivate, practice, and reflect on many social and emotional skills.
Some social and emotional skills that align naturally with almost any reading time or literacy lesson are:
- Developing social awareness (Questions to ask: Why did the character make that decision? How did the character feel when ___ happened?”)
- Identifying, analyzing and solving problems (Questions to ask: “What is the problem in this story? How are the characters going to solve this problem? What would you do?”)
- Perseverance and goal-setting (Questions to ask: “What did the character(s) do when their first attempt was not successful? What was their goal? What was their new plan? How many times would you keep trying?”)
- Building relationships and working cooperatively (Questions to ask “How did the characters become friends? How did they work together to accomplish their goal?”)
- Identifying emotions and recognizing strengths (Questions to ask: “What would you do if you were in that situation? What talents, skills or knowledge do you have that would help you solve that problem? How would you feel if this happened to you?”)
When parents and teachers actively co-construct meaning with children and use intentional strategies to develop SEL (emotional intelligence) skills, children thrive!