By Lili Cantu
At BookSpring, we have spent some of our summer getting some continuing education and preparing to offer continuing education courses for other organizations. I was privileged to present a session along with my colleague, Jill Gonzalez, at the 6th annual Texas School Ready Institute, titled Moms, Dads, Kids and Books: Working and Learning Together! It was so fun to get to talk to other people who love sharing books with young children! After that, I was able to attend some sessions, and I have to tell you—I was so inspired by one of the session leaders, Celene Domotrovich, who spoke about evidence-based strategies for promoting social and emotional learning. Google her—she has a pretty impressive resume!
In the office, we have been talking about how to include more SEL content into our programming, and especially into our Parent Book Club curriculum. Children who understand how to manage and regulate their feelings have a lot more success in school. AISD and other school districts recognize this, and we are aligning our programming to better help them achieve building SEL into the children’s daily lives at school.
So, you can imagine my excitement and my feeling that we are on the right track when Ms. Domotrovich told us that: “language and literacy are so important for children to learn self-regulation that we cannot separate literacy from SEL instruction.” In fact, the very act of learning the names for different feelings and talking about feelings helps children move those feelings from the more ancient, reptilian areas of their brain to the parts of the brain that control executive function. Additionally, the more children practice taking a high road with their emotions—through the language they use with the adults around them—the more they are able to prune away unhealthy responses to their emotions. Storytelling and reading help to build healthy neural pathways.
I know that the parents I work with in our Parent Book Club want the best for their children, and as a parent I also know that sometimes parenting a child who throws tantrums because they don’t know how to express themselves can be very frustrating. I am so excited to share even more tools for helping them help their children develop healthy social and emotional selves!
Want to share some books with your child that will help both of you talk about your feelings? Here are some of our favorites:
When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry, By Molly Bang
Grumpy Bird and Boo-Hoo Bird, By Jeremy Tankard
Mean Soup, By Betsy Everitt