The Power of 'Wonder' by R. J. Palacio to Trigger Young Readers’ Emotionally Literate Responses

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Raluca Ștefania Pelin


Readers’ emotions are naturally blended with their cognitive abilities in the transaction with literary texts. From the perspective of emotional intelligence, an emotionally literate reader will be able to read beyond the surface of the text and make inferences regarding shades of feelings, their causes and effects. The purpose of the present study was to observe whether there is any correlation between the emotional intelligence profile of young readers and their abilities to identify the emotional input in literary texts and its impact on themselves. The study was carried out with the participation of 72 students in the first year at the Faculty of Letters in Iași. It consisted in three stages and relied both on quantitative and qualitative data collection. In the first stage, the students filled in a Reading literary texts – Self-report questionnaire; in the second stage they filled in the How Empathetic are You? (The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire, TEQ) (“How Empathetic”) and in the third stage they were given excerpts from the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio in order to check whether the self-reported emotional literacy skills were at work when approaching a literary text. Approximately half of the students (30) offered to watch the film prior to class discussion and work. The answers were compared with the results of the self-reported questionnaires and a natural and fairly consistent correspondence between the profiles of readers in terms of empathy in general and the empathy felt with regard to the fictional characters together with a good command of emotion vocabulary could be observed.

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How to Cite
Pelin, R. Ștefania. “The Power of ’Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio to Trigger Young Readers’ Emotionally Literate Responses”. Linguaculture, vol. 12, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 45-64, doi:10.47743/lincu-2021-2-0216.
Literary and Cultural Studies
Author Biography

Raluca Ștefania Pelin, “Ion Ionescu de la Brad” Iaşi University of Life Sciences, Romania

Raluca-Ștefania PELIN holds a PhD from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași, the Faculty of Letters – English Department. The title of her thesis is Literature and Emotional Literacy - The Transforming Power of Literature Over Young Readers’ Minds and Behaviour. The focus of her ongoing research is the integration of concepts related to emotional intelligence and emotional literacy skills into the study of English and the response of young readers to literary and non-literary texts from the proposed perspective. Her interest in observing the way in which patterns of emotional intelligence are intrinsic to various types of texts has materialized in the publication of several articles: “The Coral Island” vs. “Lord of the Flies” – Variations in Emotional Intelligence Skills Manifested by Characters Trapped in a Similar Context; Emotionally (Un)Intelligent Characters and the Power of Context to Shape Identities in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day”; Emotions and Emotional Intelligence Beyond Words in the Poetry of Rose Ausländer, Selma-Meerbaum Eisinger, Paul Celan, and Dan Pagis. She is currently teaching English for specific purposes at “Ion Ionescu de la Brad” Iaşi University of Life Sciences (IULS).


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