Rethinking Story Reading in U.S. Preschools: Making Story Comprehension and Social-Emotional Understanding the Priority

Judith A. Schickedanz
page. 5~25 / 2014 Vol.8 No.2


This paper begins with a brief historical overview that provides a context for understanding approachesto story reading in U.S. preschools. It also discusses factors that have prompted a new trend in storyreading, one emphasizing story comprehension directly, not as a vehicle for developing only oralvocabulary and print-related literacy skills. This backdrop, as well as discussions of new research andachievement difficulties in school-age children, sets the stage for the author’s suggestion thatpreschoolers’ social-emotional understanding would also likely benefit, if story reading goals andstrategies were changed to focus on higher-level story comprehension. Examples of suitable storybooksand comprehension support strategies are used to illustrate how the complementary goals of supportingstory comprehension and social-emotional learning might be addressed. These examples also suggest aresearch intervention needed to determine whether story comprehension support strategies can alsobenefit social-emotional understanding.

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