Using Children’s Books & Storytelling to Connect Literacy & Social-Emotional Development

By Tweety Yates, Ph.D.

caregiver reading to toddler and baby
Image from, CC0

Did you know that social-emotional development and early literacy development occur on a parallel path within the context of positive relationships? Well, they do! When we begin to see the ways in which literacy and social-emotional skills are interwoven, we see the importance of intentionally finding ways to embed strategies that connect them. It is through those everyday interactions in safe and nurturing environments when adults share books, tell stories, sing songs, talk, and play with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers that our children thrive! And the earlier we start the better!

Books and storytelling can be the perfect tools to engage and excite children with stories that include social-emotional and literacy concepts. Developing a love of books at an early age is key to being a successful lifelong learner. The more books we read to children, the more they can feel competent and confident in developing and telling their own stories. Books can help them learn new vocabulary words, develop print awareness, have conversations about big feelings and how the characters deal with those feelings! We have learned that the real value is not simply in reading books to children, but in the quality of the read-aloud interactions (McGee & Schickedanz, 2007).

The upcoming OneOp FDEI webinar on Nov. 17 will use examples of books and storytelling to explore a variety of strategies, activities, and resources for connecting literacy and social emotional development to allow for lots of opportunities for children to practice and develop these skills. Live participants will have the opportunity to register for several giveaways of children’s books!! RSVP at the webinar event page to attend! We hope to see you Weds. Nov. 17, 2021, at 11 a.m. EST!


McGee, L. M., & Schickedanz, J. A. (2007). Repeated interactive read‐alouds in preschool and kindergartenThe Reading Teacher60(8), 742-751.

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