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Using Children’s Books to Support Social-Emotional Development

Developed by Maril Olson and Susan Friedman using materials created and published by NAEYC, CSEFEL and TACSEI. This session was originally presented at the NAEYC Annual Conference in Dallas, TX on November 6, 2008 and can be modified as needed to meet the needs of your own program.

(NOTE: You may need to download the latest version of Adobe Reader for the pdf documents.)

The intended outcomes of this session are to help participants:

  1. Understand how children’s literature can help support healthy social-emotional development
  2. Recognize different kinds of literature and describe their benefits
  3. Learn about specific titles that support social-emotional development
  4. Obtain ideas for embedding social-emotional content of books into daily activities

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Suggested Handouts for Trainers:

Sample CSEFEL Book Nooks

Suggestions for Small Group Activities

  1. Provide samples of books on the book list and pass them out to small groups. 
  2. Have one member of the group read the book out loud to the rest. 
  3. Have the small group discuss the following questions:
    • What social-emotional theme(s) does your book address?
    • How might you use this book to support social-emotional development during large group time? In centers? At other times of the day?
    • What activities might you conduct based upon this story?

Facilitate each group reporting their ideas back to the larger group. Encourage them to share their answers to the questions posed above as opposed to simply relating what the book was about. You may find it helpful to read a short book to the larger group as an example first and help facilitate a brainstorming session to give them an idea about the types of ideas you want them to discuss.