Social and emotional learning competencies: A content analysis of Caldecott medal award winning texts published from 1994-2019




Sullivan, Maureen

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This dissertation studied the social and emotional learning competencies found within the Caldecott Medal Award winning texts from 1994 through 2019. Social and emotional learning took root in the 1990s and is now part of mainstream culture in schools across the United States. Research has been completed on the effects of social and emotional learning, how it can be incorporated into public schools, and places within the daily school curriculum where it can be integrated. The subject area of English language arts has been described as an effective vehicle for social and emotional learning, and children’s literature a useful tool for social and emotional learning lessons. However, there are gaps in the literature regarding how social and emotional learning competencies are exhibited in children’s literature. In response, this study was directed at exploring how the competencies are illustrated in the Randolph Caldecott Medal Award winning texts from 1994 – 2019. A qualitative content analysis was conducted in which the researcher created, refined, and used an evaluative instrument which engaged the compositional and ideational meta functions to analyze the data corpus. The study found that there was a plethora of social and emotional learning competencies within the sample. Further, when it came to the competencies there were trends within the data corpus which can be used to inform the teaching of social and emotional learning lessons using these texts. From the findings, four assertions were created: 1) the Randolph Caldecott Medal Award winning texts from 1994 – 2019 are a potentially good source for the integration of social and emotional learning and literacy skills; 2) the data corpus is a possible wellspring for bibliotherapeutic social and emotional learning lessons; 3) within the data corpus, certain genres of children’s literature are better suited to teaching specific social and emotional learning competencies; 4) examples and non-examples of social and emotional learning competencies found within the sample can be used to teach social and emotional learning competencies.



caldecott award, elementary, literacy, picturebook, reading instruction, social emotional learning



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