Developing Children's Socioemotional Skills Through Picturebook

:speech_balloon: Speaker: Ma. Lovena Moneva

:classical_building: Affiliation: Trnava University

Title: Developing Children’s Socioemotional Skills Through Picturebook

Abstract (Ma. Lovena Moneva, Trnava University and University of Basel At the beginning of children’s lives, different domains of development are only starting to progress (Stitt, 2013). Children’s concepts of the world are just beginning to expand through their experiences (Byrnes, 2020). At the same time, they learn behaviours from their interactions with other people (Lindemann, 2013). Because of their still developing cognitive and language skills, they may not yet be able to fully express how stories impact their lives. Instead, the transformative impact of literature on the concepts of “others” and “self” can be linked to the development of social and emotional skills and are demonstrated as behaviours. This study will explore the use of children’s picturebooks in developing socioemotional skills relevant to today’s digital world. Specifically, the presentation will focus on a newly developed conceptual framework showing how story characters can be used to model target behaviours to children. Data will be gathered in autumn 2022 from early childhood classrooms in Slovakia. These classrooms will implement a literature-based intervention program designed by the researcher. This study hopes to provide empirical evidence to support the use of picture books in children’s socioemotional development and show the transformative effects of engaging with narratives at an early age.


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Very interesting presentation! I have thought a lot about how literature acts as a “practice ground” for people as it can change how we respond to real-life situations. I had not considered how important this would be for young children as well, so thank you for your study. I know you haven’t conducted the study yet, but do you anticipate a wide variety of children’s books to be important as children engage with and respond to what they read? Lots of picture books cover similar material (curiosity, nature, family, etc)–is it important to have young children read different genres within the world of picture books, or any exposure to narratives generally is the most important?

Thank you @loviemoneva for that really interesting overview of your planned study. If I may add a question to @clamwood 's question (as mine was similarly asking about the books the children will be presented with): I was wondering what classifies as a picture book? Will you only use books that have no text/just pictures in them or will you also consider books that have an emphasis on pictures, but still display text? I am thinking of reading aloud to my nephews and nieces, some of whom have a strong fascination with the act of reading it self (i.e., they copy what they see me or their parents doing, when they pretend to read to their dolls or stuffed animals), and I am wondering how this would influence their socioemotional development.

Hi @loviemoneva ! Thanks for an interesting presentation. This sounds very interesting! I was just wondering how long the intervention program will be? Will it be just one story reading session for each skill that you’re testing for? Or is it a multiple day/week program? What is your idea/intuition about how much exposure to books is needed for an effect to emerge, especially considering that children will find themselves in situations in which they train their SEDA skills all throughout the day (for example, during play). Looking forward to the symposium tomorrow!

From the zoom chat during the symposium Q&A:

18:12:46 From Elizabeth Oldfather to Everyone:

I have a question about the valence of these transformative experiences. While it would be terrific if reading should always promote understandings that lead to positive outcomes, have you all considered issues of learning “wrong” lessons, of identificatory processing that leads to catastrophizing thought rather than helpful…? Thinking of e.g. work on narrative self as including not only meaning-making but also narratives of “everything in my life turns good to bad” (can’t remember technical term)

18:14:35 From Willie Van Peer to Everyone:

Completely agree, Elizabeth. There’ll be a piece of research on that by Massimo Salgaro & colleagues in the October issue of the Journal of Literary Semantics.

18:14:51 From Nigel Fabb to Everyone:

I had the same question as Elizabeth about negative transformations and the relation between these notions of transformation to longstanding anxieties about the negative consequences of reading

18:15:12 From Elizabeth Oldfather to Everyone:
Thank you Willie, I will look for it!

18:15:19 From Nigel Fabb to Everyone:
e.g., the ‘Werther’ effect (reading the book made people kill themselves).

18:15:55 From Willie Van Peer to Everyone:
Salgaro et al showed how certain writings may enhance sympathy for Nazi characters….

18:16:08 From dennis kinlaw to Everyone:
Are there studies which consider transformative effects in longer narrative forms (the novel) in comparison to shorter forms (stories, poems)?

And here are the questions the presenters of the symposium came up with themselves to stimulate discussion:

How to pinpoint transformative effects?

How to adapt the transformative reading framework to account for effects not elicited by the text, but rather by reading context (e.g., shared reading, education), by reading habits or other individual differences or life experiences?

How can we take these “extra-textual” factors into account in empirical studies on transformative reading?

When studying transformative reading empirically, how do we determine what a transformative reading experience is (and what it is not)?

When is something “big” enough to be counted as transformative?

How broad should we consider the concept of transformation in the study on transformative reading?