Bibliotherapy has been around since the early 1800’s and refers to using storytelling to help children cope with challenges they may face. It may either involve reading aloud to children or children reading stories on their own.
Gifted children encounter social as well as emotional challenges which are often ameliorated by reading books – where they can relate to characters like themselves and learn life lessons. Bibliotherapy can be used to address perfectionism, motivation, anxiety; and, in older students, impostor syndrome. It can guide gifted children by helping them navigate difficult life decisions, become more self-aware, develop empathy for others, and learn about moral values.
Bibliotherapy can easily be incorporated in the classroom through ‘story time’ or time designated for individual reading. It should be facilitated and guided by the teacher. Students should feel comfortable enough to share within a welcoming classroom environment. Students learn how to see books as therapeutic. Bibliotherapy at school should incorporate the original basis for this therapy – identify, catharsis, and insight (Shrodes).
What are some benefits of bibliotherapy for GT children of color & low-SES? Multicultural literature engages students who see themselves as characters in the books they read who are facing similar challenges to their own. They see perceived like-interests as a positive. “Mirror books promote … racial pride, self-efficacy, motivation, & coping strategies when faced w/challenges, including negative peer pressures & isolation in predominantly White gifted classes.” (D. ford)
What are some questions parents and teachers can pose after bibliotherapy? First and foremost, parents and teachers can explore with the child who they identified with in the story or book they read. Encourage them to explain why they feel this way about the characters. Questions used in bibliotherapy for gifted children can ask about how the story relates to gifted children and the idea of being ‘gifted’. What text evidence can they find to support its impact on the story? Gifted children should be asked to delineate the book’s message/plot; how characters met and overcame challenges; and do they agree with the author’s conclusions.
Parents can provide their children with a wide variety of books that center on their child’s interests and potential challenges they may face. Frequent trips to the library are a great way to spend quality time with their child. One of the best ways to use bibliotherapy at home is with bedtime stories … a quiet and comforting time between parent and child.
A Transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
The Unopened Gifted (slideshow)
Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (3rd Edition) (book)
Kids’ Books – Bibliotherapy (Pinterest)
NAGC: Bibliotherapy by the Campfire: Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Students through Picture Books (Parenting for High Potential June 2019 [membership required])
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Enrichment is focused on student voice and choice. It is responsive to a student’s individual needs and the availability of services. For GT students, it should increase depth and complexity; include both group and individual options; and advance higher-level thinking. Enrichment is not busy work; more worksheets; extra homework; or games and puzzles unrelated to student interests. It is not unstructured free time; assignments given without instruction or support; or an end in itself disassociated from academic goals.
Enrichment often offers GT students the opportunity to socialize with others. It is important to build social skills while pursuing academic interests with like-minded peers. It is a way to keep GT students engaged in areas of their strengths. For it to succeed, enrichment should be focused and purposeful. It affords GT students ways to boost self-esteem and confidence in their abilities in areas they choose.
Enrichment, whether during the school year or in the summertime, should always take into consideration student choice. It is as simple as asking them how they want to spend their summer. Summer enrichment programs require a commitment on the part of parents as well as their child – both in time and money. Parents need to decide if they can allocate both before making a decision.
Many schools participate in academic competitions, chess clubs, book clubs, and theater productions. STEM activities such as science fairs and robotics competitions can also be incorporated into extracurricular activities.
State gifted organizations often provide a treasure trove of online and local resources to help parents locate enrichment opportunities. Local universities, libraries, and museums can also provide nearby programs to meet the interests of GT students.
Although enrichment may be incorporated into the general curriculum, teachers can also preview and assess opportunities that match student interests outside of chess. Opportunities can include mentoring with scholars and experts online or in the local community, internships at local businesses or universities, and independent studies. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.