To begin with, books by themselves provide the perfect avenue for practicing perspective-taking because a typical reader inevitably finds themselves thinking from the perspective of the characters in order to anticipate what might happen next in the story. Some scholars have suggested the decrease in reading may actually be responsible for the steady decrease in empathy reported in college student surveys. Further research indicates that reading high-quality literature increase Theory of Mind, the ability to understand another’s emotional state. Read an article from The New York Times about the study
RedRover Readers takes this a step further by using illustrated books with compelling characters behaving accurately and displaying appropriate emotional states combined with questioning strategies demonstrated to increase comprehension and to help facilitate or reinforce perspective-taking. This is critical for kids who are not reading as much as they should and for kids who need help understanding the characters before they can take their perspectives. RedRover Readers helps kids learn and think about emotional and behavioral states while engaging in critical thinking and perspective taking to analyze how and why characters are behaving/feeling the way they are and how they would feel in similar situations.
The perspective-taking skills kids practice through engaging with stories, reflecting on open-ended questions, and pulling out details from illustrations and text, plus learning the emotional and behavioral states of others are all critical to the development of empathy.
Kids who maybe have never had a positive relationship in their lives discuss questions like: “How is listening a part of communication?” “How long does it take to make a friend?” “How do you think the boy feels?” “Can you communicate with a dog?” “What would that look like?” and “Why would you listen?”