Long before children learn to read, parents and educators immerse children in language and literacy enriched environments, knowing that it will contribute to a child's overall success as a reader. We may stop and ask questions such as, "Where do you think Jake is going?" or, "Do you think he will get home in time?" This helps to stretch a child's mental muscle and exercise cognitive skills.
Taking It a Step Further: Emotional Literacy
Want to add another layer to this process? Be sure to include questions about emotions. This will contribute to your child's overall social-emotional development, which is crucial to her success in this world. Opportunities to do this abound when reading aloud to your child. It's another way to help grow great kids.
5 Ways to Increase Emotional Literacy:
Questions You Can Ask
1. What kind of problem does the character have?
Problem identification is a big step in emotional literacy. Being able to name the issue opens up the possibility of trying to solve the problem (if there is one). In fact, one of my favortie sayings is, "If we can name it and claim it, we can tame it!" Dr. Lynne Kenney and I discuss this very issue in our book, Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids.
2. How do you think the character feels?
As human beings, we have reactions to just about every experience we have, be they positive, negative or neutral. Is the character mad, sad or surprised? Is he curious, fearful or excited? Sometimes, we even have more than one feeling at the same time. That is a good thing to discuss with your child, as well. Sometimes our feelings are all jumbled up and it's hard to extricate and pinpoint a primary feeling.
3. What can the character do about it?
This really helps your child expand his thought process and generate possible solutions. Rarely is there only one solution to a problem. When kids realize they can identify several ways to solve a problem, the better equipped they are to deal with bumps in the road of life. (And there will be some!)
4. How do you think that will work for him?
This encourages your child to develop consequential thinking, and to consider outcomes of certain choices. That's a pretty important skill!
5. Have you ever felt that way before? Tell me how you dealt with it.
This helps your child identify that, as human beings, we can all relate to feelings and that we have all experienced many of the same feelings. This will be part of the process that will help your child develop empathy. Another very important life skill.
There are a ton more ways to increase emotional literacy! Add your ideas in the comments below! We love to hear from you!
Want more ways to increase your child's social-emotional acumen? Find us on Pinterest! We've TONS of boards that can help!
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