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Benefits of Bibliotherapy for GT Kids

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.


Turning Theory into Practice #5 – What can bibliotherapy look like with gifted children?

The Unopened Gifted (slideshow)

Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (3rd Edition) (book)

I Want to Read About Me: Engaging and Empowering Gifted Black Girls Using Multicultural Literature and Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy A Resource to Facilitate Emotional Healing and Growth

A Bibliotherapy Evaluation Tool: Grounding Counselors in the Therapeutic use of Literature (pdf)

Bibliotherapy: Overview and Implications for Counselors (pdf)

Psychological Well-being, Improved Self-confidence, and Social Capacity: Bibliotherapy from a User Perspective

Bibliotherapy: Helping Children Cope with Life’s Challenges

Book Lists for Gifted Learners

Literature and the Gifted in TEMPO (1991)

Top 10 Books for Gifted Children

Comparing the Use of Cinematherapy and Bibliotherapy to Teach Character Education: A Quasi-Experimental Study (pdf 2019)

Incorporating Bibliotherapy Into the Classroom: a Handbook for Educators (pdf)

Bibliotherapy Goldmine: Books on a Variety of Topics

Books for Beginning Bibliotherapy

Kids’ Books – Bibliotherapy (Pinterest)

Bibliotherapy Intervention Exposure and Level of Emotional Awareness among Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (pdf)

The Effectiveness of Creative Bibliotherapy for Internalizing, Externalizing, and Prosocial Behaviors in Children: A Systematic Review

Rick Riordan Presents

NAGC: Bibliotherapy by the Campfire: Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Students through Picture Books (Parenting for High Potential June 2019 [membership required])

Photo courtesy of Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.



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