Next time you start narrating a story with a moral lesson to your kid, make sure it has human characters that human-like animals. A recent study, carried out by researchers at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at University of Toronto, found that four- to six-year-olds shared more after listening to books with human characters than books with anthropomorphic (human-like) animals.
One of the reasons some kids did not act generously was because they did not interpret the anthropomorphic animals as similar to themselves. Researchers also suggested that books with realistic characters lead to better learning for kids. It was also found that since a majority of kids in this study did not see these characters as similar to themselves, they may be less likely to translate social lessons from these stories into their everyday lives.
During the study, kids listened to a story with either human or human-like animal characters who spoke and wore clothes. Each book taught children about sharing with others. Children’s altruistic giving was assessed before and after the reading. Most kids said the animals lacked human characteristics so they were unable to connect with them.
The Honest Woodcutter
The Wet Pants
A Chair For My Mother
The Empty Pot
Once you are at narrating stories, include humour and witty ones too in your routine too. Not only can humour help create friendships, it can make difficult situations easier and get children into the habit of reading books.
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
BE QUIET! by Ryan T. Higgins
President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex; illustrated by Scott Campbell