About the Project


Storybook STEM was a National Science Foundation-funded conference grant led by TERC in partnership with the University of Notre Dame with the goal of engaging early childhood reading, family learning, and informal STEM education (ISE) experts from across the country to better understand and advance current work related to the integration of storybooks and ISE for families with young children. The project focused on educators and researchers working with or studying family learning for preschool-age children (3 to 5 years) using early childhood fiction books as a tool for engaging families in STEM topics and skills. 

The project was intended to address three goals: 

  1. Document current and past work in ISE and other fields in order to understand the approaches and perspectives that are being used, synthesize research findings and lessons learned, and clarify the goals for integrating storybooks with ISE 
  1. Summarize key recommendations and resources from the reading, literacy, and early childhood development fields so that others can benefit from these substantial literature bases 
  1. Outline promising directions for future work, including research goals, collaborations and partnerships, theoretical frameworks, and recommendations for ensuring that these efforts are informed by a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion 

Over two years, the Storybook STEM project team coordinated a series of activities to engage researchers and educators across the country, including a national survey, online forum, and in-person convening in December 2019. These discussions resulted in a series of recommendations and questions for both research and practice, including a call for the field to more explicitly apply an equity lens to the study and use of storybooks, and stories more broadly, for supporting STEM learning with young children and their families.  


We are grateful to the many educators, researchers, and professionals that participated in and contributed to this project. This work was made possible through the generous support of TERC and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1902536. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders. 

About TERC

TERC is a nonprofit made up of teams of math and science education and research experts dedicated to innovation and creative problem solving. At the frontier of theory and practice, TERC’s work encompasses research, content and curriculum development, technology innovation, professional development, and program evaluation. TERC has a passion for social justice and strives to create level playing fields for all learners, reaching more than three million students every year. 

To learn more, please visit www.terc.edu.

About the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education

The Notre Dame Center for STEM Education was founded in 2013 with the vision of being a premier, transformative center that engages in scholarly research and professional formation in order to advance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Center believes that all young people deserve a high-quality STEM education in order to shape their own futures and those of the communities in which they live.

I'm continuing to think about the role of story in an informal learning environment. How can we use story to elevate and include voices that are not typically elevated and heard? How do we include our surrounding communities to be a part of this change?”

– Convening participant