There is power in good books. Picture books and stories have the power to evoke images of good ideas. This can help us, especially children, imagine and recognize good values when they see them practiced by others in books.
“The power of stories lies in the emotions they elicit” says Melissa Heath. “Facts don’t drive people to think differently and change their behavior – but emotions can. Merely telling a child to think of another’s needs or to be kind doesn’t have the emotional and inspiring power of a good story”.
Social and emotional learning help children understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, develop empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make good decisions.
Ideas and books that can help teach goodness to children:
Social Awareness – Good books can give children the feeling of walking in another’s shoes – understanding perspectives other than their own.
Responsible Decision Making – Books and stories can help children learn to carefully consider potential outcomes of their decisions and accept responsibility.
- The Enchanted Wood by Ruth Sanderson
- Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
- If I Only Had a Green Nose by Max Lucado
Relationship Skills – Forming friendships, learning to compromise, working with others and showing appreciation can have a lasting impact.
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
- The Blessings Jar by Colleen Coble
Self-Management – It’s not easy for children to manage their thoughts, feelings, and behavior but teaching them to wait, not interrupt, and follow instructions can help them.
- Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
- Lacey Walker, Non-stop Talker by Christianne C. Jones
- Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
Self-Awareness – Children can learn resilience and optimism by learning how to make the connection between their thoughts and emotions with their behavior.
- Gandhi: A March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty
- Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams
- Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
—–HOW TO READ TO KIDS—–
- Read the book on your own first. Choose places to slow down and pause.
- Vary the character’s voices by changing your pitch or inflection.
- Use sound effects.
- Keep the flow. Save your commentary and teaching moment for after the story or later.
- Take your time. Let the children linger on pictures or favorite words.
[Taken from “Reading to Teach”, M. Sue Bergin, BYU Magazine Spring 2017]