Reading stories with social-emotional themes is one of the ways parents and early care and education staff can support children's healthy development. Tell Me a Story will help build parent and staff capacity to use books and stories to help young children learn. Books can be used to explore important topics such as managing strong emotions, dealing with feelings of grief, or working on social skills. Head Start, Early Head Start, and early care and education staff can use the Tell Me a Story book guides, workshop materials, and additional resources to help children learn these skills that are crucial for school readiness.
Tell Me a Story was developed to support early childhood learning programs and their mental health outreach to families and children, with a focus on adversity and parental depression. Tell Me a Story is part of the Family Connections program at Boston Children's Hospital. For more resources, explore Family Connections: A Systemic Mental Health Consultation and Professional Development Model.
Use the following resources to guide effective use of Tell Me a Story in your early care and education program. Learn more about Tell Me a Story, including the origin of the evidence-based materials, supporting research, and best practices for using the materials with families and children in your community.
Share developmentally appropriate books with children to help them learn to define and communicate difficult emotions. Use the Tell Me a Story Book Guides to find strategies for sharing books in classrooms and in other early care and education settings. Each Book Guide includes helpful tips for program staff and families, suggested questions to spark thoughtful discussions with children, and follow-up activities.
- Introduction to the Book Guides
- Book Guide: When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry...
- Book Guide: Jamaica Tag-Along
- Book Guide: When My Mom is Sad
Download the book here
- Book Guide: Only You
- Book Guide: Knuffle Bunny Too
- Book Guide: Quinito's Neighborhood / El Vecindario de Quinito
Workshop for Teachers
Early care and education staff can use Tell Me a Story workshops to support professional development. Staff will learn how to use the Tell Me a Story book guides and find strategies for sharing books with social-emotional themes and talking with children about difficult topics.
Each workshop includes sections for workshop leader preparation, step-by-step directions to facilitate workshops, and follow-up activities. We recommend starting with the introduction and completing the workshops in order.
- Introduction to Tell Me A Story Workshops
- Strategies for Talking With Children About Difficult Issues
- Getting the Most Out of Circle Time
- Using the Tell Me A Story Book Guides
Workshop for Families
Tell Me a Story may be used to enhance parent and family engagement. The following workshops are designed for program leaders to use with staff to reflect on, plan, and implement Tell Me a Story practices to support family engagement and early literacy. Each workshop includes preparation instructions, step-by-step directions to facilitate workshops, and follow-up activities.
- Introduction to Workshops for Families
- Ways to Engage Families by Using Tell Me A Story in Your Classroom
- Ways to Engage Families by Using Tell Me A Story in Your Center
- Teachers and Parents Working Together: Delivering a Tell Me A Story Workshop to Parents
- Introduction to Workshops Addressing Dual-Language Communities
- Engaging Families Across Language and Culture
- Engaging Dual-Language Learners in Head Start Preschool Classrooms
- Creating Programs to Partner With Immigrant Parents
Explore resources to support Tell Me a Story in your early care and education program. Read related short papers that supplement the Tell Me a Story workshops. Topics include building resilience, communicating difficult issues and across cultures, and coping with parental depression and other adversities. Use them as professional training materials or as handouts for staff and parents.
- Better Parent Communication: What Do I Say When a Parent Tells Me Something Difficult?
- Better Communication with Children: Responding to Challenging Subjects
- Parenting, Depression, and Hope: Reaching Out to Families Facing Adversity
- Fostering Resilience in Families Coping With Depression: Practical Ways Head Start Staff Can Help Families Build on Their Power to Cope
- Understanding Depression Across Cultures
- Communicating Across Language and Culture: How Do I Reach Out to Parents Who Are Immigrants?
- Encouraging an Expressive Environment: Supportive Communication From the Inside Out
- Self-Reflection and Shared Reflection as Professional Tools
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Series: Tell Me a Story
Last Updated: May 27, 2021