Once upon a time, a class studied picture books...

A CWRU student reads a picture book to an elementary-school student for his first-seminar course.

It’s the first rule of communications: Know your audience.

In a Case Western Reserve University first-seminar course, Children’s Picture Books, with Cara Byrne, students explore the deceptively simple nature of children’s books and how those stories communicate complex themes of social norms and ethics.

And they discover new ways to communicate with a very specific audience—local second-graders.

As they dive into academic topics like how picture books shape children's perceptions of the world, the CWRU students work closely with a Cleveland Heights elementary school class, helping the children improve their literacy skills and get excited about reading. Later in the semester, the 7-year-olds visit campus and read to their collegiate mentors. 

While serving as role models for the youngsters, students in the CWRU class practice critical thinking and persuasive communication, and they develop a greater connection to the Cleveland community. 

…. and they all lived happily ever after.