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Contributing Editor: Amy Hildenbrand, Director of Publications at CRS

Throughout our lives, stories send us on all kinds of journeys: daring adventures, grand explorations for hidden treasure, discoveries of forgotten memories, and moments of quiet reflection. Cherished characters take us along with them as they confront dragons, make unexpected friendships, travel to new and distant lands, lose loved ones, and then find their way home. As we transition from childhood to adulthood, these stories stay with us, guiding us through our personal trials to triumph just like our favorite heroes. We remember the beloved books that made us laugh and cry, provided solace, and called us to action as they remind us that we can conquer any challenge that comes our way. Our favorite books and characters are as varied as ourselves, but their impact is universal and cannot be denied.

In this issue, we explore and define social-emotional literacy, discover the importance of picture books, and learn how graphic novels are more than a novelty. These insights are tools you can use on your SEL journey and may even provide you with the gift of time. Be sure to check out our “In the Field” interview with two extraordinary teachers who share their stories and experiences of how literature and SEL instruction impacted their lives and the lives of their students. Enjoy the journey!

Articles in this Issue:

SEL and Literacy: A Natural Fit

The high pressure of standardized testing is often cited as a barrier for the implementation of SEL practices in schools due to the constraints of time. However, a cognitive-only approach to teaching—which essentially ignores collaboration, communication, and creative problem-solving—can elicit unintended consequences, such as students feeling disconnected and frustrated even to the point of disliking…

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The Gift of Time: Embedding SEL Skills Practice Within the English Language Arts Class

According to a 2017 study for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), teachers and administrators believe that teaching social-emotional skills is critical to help their students be successful academically and in life. Yet nearly three-quarters of principals (71 percent) say that teachers “not having enough time” is a big challenge in implementing…

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Bring SEL to Life for Young Students Through Picture Books

Early elementary students are just beginning to learn the social and emotional skills that will carry them through life—and nearly every interaction can be an opportunity to practice. In addition to providing explicit instruction in social and emotional learning (SEL), teachers can reinforce these lessons through fun, interactive activities that address the five core SEL…

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Harnessing the Power of Visual Storytelling

With screen technology becoming ubiquitous at home, school, work, and everywhere else, our world is increasingly visually oriented. The definition of literacy itself is being expanded to include the ability to analyze visual media. According to the National Association for Media Literacy Education, “Today’s information and entertainment technologies communicate to us through a powerful combination…

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