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Reading Helps Behavioral and Social-Emotional Development

Books are a powerful way to support your child’s social-emotional and behavioral development. Find out how, and learn about some books that can get you started.

Mother reading to boy on couch

Reading with your child is an excellent way to build brain power and language development. But did you know that reading can also help with your child’s behavioral and social-emotional development? Yes, reading really is that powerful.

Through books and stories, children can learn skills and watch other characters go through emotions similar to those they experience themselves. Reading and hearing stories about emotions, interactions with friends and family, and ways to work through difficult situations is a positive and fun way for children to learn behavioral and social-emotional skills. So if your child throws her toys, tell a story about a child who learns how to treat her toys nicely. Or when your preschooler is worried about going to kindergarten, read a story about what kindergarten is like and how another child also felt worried but had a great first day of school. Books are effective at helping children and parents learn and teach about appropriate behavioral expectations, social skills, and emotional experiences.

Here are some book suggestions:
  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Christine Roussey

  • The Angry Dragon by Michael Gordon

  • How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer

  • The Things I Love about Friends by Trace Moroney

  • Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

    QUICK TIP: You can find many books that discuss emotions in the children’s section of your local library.

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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