The Best of Both Worlds Based on Science

Although Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) began in the 1960s at the Yale School of Medicine in its Child Study Center, the topic resurfaced with fervor globally in schools since the pandemic. According to CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), SEL includes building competence in the areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (also known as the CASEL 5). 

In one meta-analysis of school-based universal SEL interventions, these skills provided the foundation for better school adjustment, more prosocial behaviors and peer relationships, and improved academic performance (e.g., Durlak et al., 2011). These PreK-12 SEL programs are taught in isolation and integrated in content throughout the school day, including physical education and the arts. For the purpose of this blog, the CASEL 5 areas will be integrated in best-practice literacy strategies and skills. 

Defining best-practice literacy strategies 

The literacy strategies highlighted on the blog will be those which have been proven to be effective in increasing students’ literacy achievement through empirical evidence. “Science of literacy” identifies explicit instruction in the essential components of reading, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing. 

The best of both worlds

Literacy is often an interactive process. We often want to talk about what we have read. Writing is meant to be read. Our understanding of text is enhanced when we hear someone else’s perspective, often raising new insights that help us dig deeper and motivate us to read more. They also help us to understand others beyond the characters in the book and the world in which we live. These interactions naturally lend themselves to social-emotional learning. Ultimately, the best of both worlds, based on science and what is best for our children. 

Photo by Rebecca Zaal on

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