“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting so … get on your way!”
– Dr. Suess, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Today I want to focus on five attributes of reading to children that can help build their integrity. These include… empathizing with the feelings of other people, learning steps to cope with their own feelings, expanding their horizons as they learn global concepts, understanding their own heritage and cultures of the world, and finally, grasping the history of life.
Empathizing or understanding the feelings of others from their perspective can be taught using children’s books. Empathy develops as the child becomes aware and begins to think about circumstances in his or her environment. Parents can actually push the development of empathy along. And if they encourage empathy by using examples, the child will become more empathetic. Some examples of children’s books using empathy include; We’re all in the same Boat by Zachary Shapiro, Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson, and Always Room for One More by Sorche Nic Leodhas.
As the child learns from book exposure and interactions, they eventually become aware of their own feelings. And emotional health naturally builds a strong foundation for the child’s future social development and success in school. So during story time when you are reading, ask your child if a certain character is happy or sad and why. And as for you – keep that positive outlook at all times! Your child learns from you and models healthy emotional behaviors.
As different books are introduced, the child expands their own horizon and gains an understanding of different global cultures. Here are some excellent multi-cultural books for children; Mama and Papa Have a Store by Amelia Lau Carling, Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day by Pat Mora, and The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson.
Here are some book examples about understanding heritage; Who’s Who in my Family by Loreen Leedy and Celebrating Families by Rosemarie Hausherr.
And finally, here are some book examples that can be used to introduce history to young children; Coolies by Yin and Casey Over There by Statin Rabin.
So in ending it can be seen the picture books clearly assist in the development of the child’s integrity through their entertaining, colorful and delightful nature. And as adapted from Nodelman & Reimer 2003, picture books help the child …
➢ Expand cultural awareness and appreciate history.
➢ Understand and connect with one’s life and the story.
➢ Visualizing new images and expanding on new ideas.
~ Robert Scott Thayer