THE RESEARCH: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT SEL? 9 followed up with books that explain. This is similar to a science storytime, with the key component of encouraging critical thinking. At storytime you can hypothesize together as to whether the animals will ever get water in Margaret Read MacDonald’s folktale from Uganda, Give Up, Gecko!, and guide them into a discussion about the importance of persistence. Crash! Boom!: A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris presents the importance of “try, try again,” as an adorable blue pachyderm figures out (i.e., critical thinking) how to keep his block tower from collapsing. Hopefully, by now you are beginning to visualize myriad ways to bring SEL into your storytimes. More than likely, you’ve already been doing it with themes such as Making Friends, Diversity and Inclusion, I Like Me, and so on. Later chapters will single out these topics and more, with sup- porting physical and creative activities. But first, let’s learn a bit about brain development so there is understanding about age appropriateness for introducing SEL components. Our work is critical at a time when educators, parents, students, and employers increasingly recognize the value of SEL. Together, we are united in our call for schools to educate the whole child, equipping students for success in school and in life. —
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