Can Where the Wild Things Are Teach Kids Empathy?

New York Magazine:

Kids who spend their early years lost in the imaginary worlds of children’s fiction —Where the Wild Things Are, Corduroy,Beatrix Potter’s stories of Peter Rabbit — may be getting more out of the stories than pure entertainment. Narrative fiction seems to make young children more empathetic, according to research presented at this weekend’s American Psychological Association convention in San Francisco.

Fiction, of course, lets you see the world through another set of eyes, and that isn’t lost on young children, argued York University psychologist Raymond Mar. Some research has suggested that adults who read narrative fiction also tend to be more empathetic, but so far, the research is inconclusive, Mar said. But between the ages of 3 and 5, kids are just starting to understand the difference between their own thoughts and desires and those of other people. And kids who read fiction with their parents seem to be better at those early stabs at empathy than kids who don’t, the research suggests.

Read the whole story: New York Magazine

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