Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Fostering Emotionally Intelligent Bookworms: Building Relationships through Children's Books

Emotional intelligence – the ability to discern and manage our own emotions as well as the emotions of those around us – is a vital skill that needs to be nurtured from a young age. Teaching children emotional intelligence creates a foundation for better relationships and overall quality of life as they grow older. One effective and enjoyable way to do this is through the world of children's books and reading.

Children's books offer insight into different perspectives and experiences, helping young readers understand and process the wide-set of emotions they may encounter. This is more than just saying 'happy' or 'sad'—it’s about teaching empathy, understanding, resilience, and so much more.

The Power of Storytelling
Through colorful illustrations and captivating storylines, children’s books weave together rich tapestries of emotion and experience. These stories spark conversations about how characters are feeling why they're feeling the way they do. This not only boosts comprehension and vocabulary but also strengthens your child's emotional intelligence. It creates opportunities for parents, caregivers, or educators to discuss emotions such as fear, anger, joy, and sadness with the children.

Building Relationships with Characters and Others
As children identify with the feelings of a character, they learn to acknowledge similar feelings within themselves or others. It gives them an emotional toolkit to navigate their relationships now and in the future successfully. Whether it’s a friendship between two different species or the unconditional love of family members, the relationships depicted in children's books can serve as valuable learning tools.

Choosing the Right Books
It is essential to choose books that convey emotional intelligence, such as titles dealing with expressing emotions, overcoming challenges, and valuing diversity. Whether it's a book about a grumpy frog, a lost bear, or a daring princess, all can teach important aspects of emotional wisdom. 'The Color Monster' by Anna Llenas, for example, uses color to represent different emotions, thereby offering a unique and effective way for children to identify and discuss their feelings.

Guiding the Discussion
Prolong the learning from your reading by asking profound questions about the characters' emotions and actions. Instead of asking 'Did you like the book?' try more specific questions like 'How do you think the character felt when…?' This will encourage your child to reflect on different emotional responses and develop greater empathy.

In conclusion, promoting emotional intelligence through children's books is a gentle, yet effective way of helping the young ones understand their emotions and those of others. It not only improves their reading skills but also fosters meaningful relationships and socially engaged individuals. So, consider integrating emotional intelligence concepts into your reading practices to nurture a generation of compassionate and emotionally-wise children.

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