May 24, 2013

Children's Literature Builds Global Competence


The youngest readers can become armchair travelers. Children’s literature about the world and its cultures compels young minds to investigate ways of life and thinking that can be different—or quite similar—to their own. It offers important perspectives as students build basic literacy skills.

When young learners finish a book about another culture, ask them to:

 Recount the story in their own words, and listen to see if they use new vocabulary used in the story.
 Compare and contrast this story with another similar story. Are there common themes (e.g. good versus bad) or storytelling methods (e.g. a quest) that they can detect?
 Ask the reader to say or write something about the mood of the story.
 With e-readers and online books, ask the reader to talk about how words, images, and possibly sound relate to one another. Do they repeat, or do words have one job to do, and images another?

Here are some recommended books—all of them online or available on e-readers:

Read this same article in Education Week at

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