Storybooks are a ubiquitous learning resource in classrooms and homes. As interest in early childhood STEM learning has increased, a growing number of projects are leveraging children’s fiction books as a tool for supporting STEM learning with young children and their families.


In December of 2019, TERC and the University of Notre Dame convened a group of 21 early childhood reading, family learning, and informal STEM education experts to explore this topic, synthesize current work, and develop recommendations for the field. The discussions focused particularly on programs and research with preschool-age children (3 to 5 years) and their families in out-of-school contexts, such as museums, afterschool programs, and everyday learning at home. In preparation for the meeting, the project team also conducted a national survey and organized a two-week, online forum with educators and researchers to identify key issues, current practices, and outstanding questions.

I think that there’s still a lot of work to be done in how to best engage young children and their families in science, and doing that in ways that meet them where they are, and that they can incorporate in their daily lives. And storytelling is a natural way to do that.”

– Anna Hurst, Astronomical Society of the Pacific