Resource type: Booklists and book reviews, CPD course
Price band: Free
Key stage: KS1, KS2, KS3
Region(s): All of UK
Increasingly recognised as a core life skill, research has demonstrated that empathy can be fostered and developed through reading fiction. EmpathyLab is an organisation that is developing ways to build children’s empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of high-quality literature. Working in partnership with 40 children’s publishers, its Empathy Builders programme aims to build a book-based empathy movement that reaches over one million children a year by 2026.
EmpathyLab provides a range of resources to support schools in promoting empathy through reading:
- Read for Empathy Collections for primary and secondary schools – a list of titles that explore emotions and provide insights into other people’s experiences and perspectives. There is also a Reading Collection for Empathy for Wales featuring Welsh and English language books for young people aged 4-16.
- Empathy Day – a day dedicated to talking about and promoting empathy with free, online, author-led activities.
- An Affiliate Schools Programme and modular CPD training programme to help primary and secondary schools develop and embed an empathy strategy.
- An overview of some of the key research on empathy and the role of reading, as well as evaluation reports on EmpathyLab’s own action research.
Cost: Free booklists and online resources, training packages from £185.
About EmpathyLab: EmpathyLab was founded in 2014 by Miranda McKearney OBE, Sarah Mears MBE, Craig Hill and Caroline Scott. Its aim is to develop children’s empathy and social activism through stories in order to build a more caring world.
Literacy Hive Likes:
- Download the free Read for Empathy Guide for each collection that contains a synopsis of all the books, as well as top tips for sharing stories.
- The Read for Empathy Collections are chosen by a panel of expert judges every year so that they represent the best and latest books available.
- Reading for empathy improves key literacy as well as empathy skills.
- A focus on empathy can improve children’s attitudes to school and their peers, as well as encouraging them to see themselves as part of the wider world.