“Kindergarteners Need 2 Skills to Be Successful”

Talk about an attention-grabbing headline! The thing is, that snippet isn’t too far from the full title in a recent Inc. article:

A 19-Year Study Reveals Kindergarten Students With These 2 Skills Are Twice as Likely to Obtain a College Degree
(and They Have Nothing to Do With Reading)

So what do Kindergarteners need to have? Emotional and social skills. In the study, the teachers weighed in on how well the kids shared, listened to others, resolved problems with their peers, and were helpful.

In addition to explaining the study, the article has ideas on ways to incorporate skill building opportunities into daily life. It is definitely worth the read.

What the article doesn’t share, though, is ways of using a learning tool near and dear to my heart: stories.

Building Life Skills through Stories

Some of us are natural storytellers, but I think its safe to say that the majority of us are more likely to use stories to help explain:

  • emotions like anger, jealousy, and hurt;
  • concepts like patience, sharing, and fairness;
  • how friendships work; and
  • empathy and compassion.
preschool behavior book

Sharing lessons through stories gives us role models and also takes the heat off the person learning the lesson!

In our house, it was pretty easy for my then preschooler to spot the “wrongs” in books like No Biting or David Gets in Trouble even if she was struggling with a similar emotion or tough-for-her situation.

Life presents plenty of chances to teach and practice these skills, but sometimes its nice for our kids to have someone else be the person who needs to learn a lesson. Many of these stories have an element of humor, which can also “lighten the mood,” as well. Last but not least, reading books and talking about other characters gives us a break from sounding like a broken record with our own children.

So with those ideas in mind, I have put together a shortlist with ten of
our favorite books with social and emotional development stories that you probably have never heard about.

Please feel free to share your faves – and links to your review if you have them – in the comments.