Storybook STEM Convening

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 the role of children’s fiction books as a tool for supporting STEM learning with young children and their families. Participants included educators and researchers from across the country representing a broad range of learning contexts, professional roles, audience focus areas, and STEM discipline expertise.

Through the discussions, the group developed a series of recommendations for future work, with a particular focus integrating diversity and equity perspectives into the use of storybooks for family STEM learning. Participants challenged researchers and educators to:

  • Rethink how stories are developed, including how families and scholars of color are represented and involved in the process of creating and selecting stories;
  • Rethink what we mean by stories by connecting with both written and oral story traditions and creating space for families to tell their own stories;
  • Rethink our relationships with families by engaging them as key stakeholders throughout the development, implementation, and research process;
  • Rethink how we measure success, including broadening our notion of STEM learning, connecting STEM and literacy, and attending to the goals of parents and children; and
  • Rethink the connection between research and practice by better sharing what we already know and involving educators and other practitioners as partners in the research process.

Read the convening report and other project resources to learn more about the recommendations that emerged from the discussions.


I've also been thinking about the difference between supporting people of color within the current social structure and disrupting the social structure. What would it look like to create programs that disrupt the social structure? Who needs to be in the room for those discussions? How do we start? What role does narrative and story have in these discussions?”

– Convening participant