Bibliotherapyby Barbara Dripps-Wilson Sharing Selected Literature with Children to Overcome and Understand
Bibliotherapy Bibliotherapy is the sharing of carefully selected literature with a child for the purpose of helping the child work through a tough situation. Children will be able to identify with the problems of the characters and can work through those problems by connecting to the text. They can then see how they are not alone and work towards understanding and resolving the problem or situation. Sources can be any form of text including books, magazines, and poetry.
Bibliotherapy can help a child achieve Self-Actualization by assisting with issues dealing with safety, love and belonging, and esteem.Literature can be shared with children when dealing with concerns about safety homelessness; love and belonging, like bullying or family dynamics; or about esteem, for example, being the best you can be. Image retrieved from Bing Images
When should I use BIBLIOTHERAPY? Anytime a child is dealing with a tough situation! • Divorce • Death • Moving • Bullying • Special health needs • Feeling different • Prejudice/Understanding different cultures
Ways to use bibliotherapy • Large or small group read aloud • Given to a child for independent reading • Story on CD in the listening center • Recommend to parent to read and discuss with child • Literature circles (group according to content for discussion)
Many series deal with situations appropriate for bibliotherapy.
Many authors have books useful in bibliotherapy such as Patricia Polacco. A grandmother helps her granddaughter deal with her fear of a thunderstorm approaching. Patricia Palocco’s own story about struggling with dyslexia.
Bibliotherapy can be used by any adult who is concerned about a child’s well being. - Teachers - Parents or other relative - Librarians - Friends - Counselors/TherapistsIt helps to be comfortable with the book and subject matter you are addressing.
How do I pick the right book? Identify the problem. Select literature relevant to the problem. Have a main character that the child can identify with (similar age, gender, situation) The text should be age appropriate and culturally sensitive. Text and pictures should be free of prejudice and stereotypes.
Book Suggestions Being different from the rest of your class makes you unique. A good book for explaining that everyone has a bad day.
Books to help a child deal with moving. A story made to help a child who is moving. A little girl is angry about moving and leaving her best friend.
Losing a loved one or a pet can be hard to deal with for any child. These books can help.
Bibliotherapy can be used to help change unacceptable behaviors such as teasing or lying.
Literature can help children understand that all families are special including their own. Sugar loves her Mama, who is incarcerated. A two mother household is full of love.
Literature can help children learn to understand a medical diagnosis by reading about another person who shares that disease or disorder. It is helpful to know that they are not the only one with a special need or condition.
Some suggestions… Tourette Syndrome Sensory Processing Disorder
Life threatening food allergies can be scary for a child. These books help explain food allergies, as well as provide ways to keep a child safe. They also provide support by showing that the child is not alone.
Understanding cultures… Its hard to be the only child without a Christmas tree in December. A little Spanish speaking girl visits relatives in Ohio and is frustrated that no one understands her. Great for ELL children!
Books can give children ideas on how to support others in their life battles. A class shows support for a girl with leukemia by shaving their heads while she undergoes chemotherapy. A town combats prejudice by placing menorahs in windows of non-Jewish families to support a Jewish family during the holidays.
A book for children who have a loved one with cancer . A book about growing up with a brother or sister with special needs.
If you are concerned about reading a book with controversial subject matter, consider recommending it to a parent or relative to read at home. As an educator, you may find books that would be helpful to a child but, unfortunately, are dealing with topics that are not able to be discussed in a school setting.
Follow up activities Many activities can enhance the effectiveness of the text. • Draw a picture related to the text. • Write what happens to the characters next. • Perform a puppet show. • Write a song about how the character feels. • Write a poem about the subject matter. • Rewrite the story from another character’s viewpoint. • Discuss other ways the characters could have handled the situation. What could they have done better? How would you have handled the situation.
Keep in mind… • Use caution when dealing with controversial subject matter. (drugs, sexuality, incarceration) You might meet some resistance. • Become familiar with the text before sharing it with a child. • Learn about the child and what they need.
More suggestions… • In a school setting, read to a small group of children as to not single an individual child out. • Bibliotherapy is meant to be therapeutic! • Good luck helping our children overcome their problems!
Bibliography • All book cover pictures were retrieved from barnesandnoble.com • www.best-childrens-books.com/bibliotherapy.html • www.childrens-behavior-book.html(provides a place to write your own personalized bibliotherapy story) • www.indiana.edu/~reading/ieo/digests/d82.html • http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYRE/Biblio.html
Created by: Barbara R. Dripps-Wilson Graduate Student Slippery Rock University Teacher/Family Educator Beaver County Head Start