Hopefully, if you asked your student, they would be able to describe empathy to you, as it is one of the concepts presented in our social-emotional learning curriculum, Second Step. Empathy is the ability to understand how another person is feeling, and share that feeling with them. There was a line of thought about empathy being a fixed trait, but more and more research is showing that we can build empathy in all people, young and old. Part of my job is to help build empathy, so that Everett students are able to understand others’ feelings better. That was why I found this article to be so interesting!
Basically, it says that one way to build empathy is to read fiction books. Nonfiction books are great too, in that they build a lot of reading skills and strategies. However, when reading fiction books we are more likely to think about how a character is feeling, and we go through the book with them sharing their feelings. Therefore, we are building empathy. The empathy, though, doesn’t just stick with that character or for that book, but overall we have an increased level of empathy!
Therefore, while reading to you student was always something I encouraged, now I’m going to add to that with READ FICTION!