Bibliotherapy: Building Self Esteem In Children And Adolescents

1568 words - 6 pages

Bibliotherapy is defined as a form of supportive psychotherapy in which carefully selected reading materials are used to assist a subject in solving personal problems or for other therapeutic purposes. Bibliotherapy has been used to build self-esteem in both children and adolescents with learning problems. It has been used with children in rural schools, shy children, and to teach about bullying and victimization, among other things. It has also been used to help adolescents by developing a good self-concept in the face of crisis identity.It is believed that the therapeutic benefit of stories and literature is mostly gained through a process that involves "the stages of identity with the characters involved, insight into the associated problems and dilemmas, and finally emotional catharsis and release (Young & Oliver, 1994). Using this process enhances possibilities for identification and insight. It also creates a safe atmosphere to talk about the strong emotions and issues that arise in the literature and in their lives from the safe distance of the third person.Self-esteem can be greatly affected by the method of teaching. Cooperation and collaboration can enhance self esteem and promote student achievement. In a literature circle environment students have the opportunity to succeed while learning something new. There is a lot of emphasis placed on reading in the classroom, and students lacking the ability to read will probably experience issues with low self-esteem. Teachers must learn to work on self esteem along with reading due to the fact that the two go hand in hand. Self-concept is also very closely correlated with math achievements. Students with higher scores in math and reading were found to have higher scores in most areas of self-esteem as well (Stringer, Reynolds & Simpson, 2003).This idea of learning by doing has also been emphasized by such theorists as Dewey, Rogers and Piaget. All three believed that learning takes place best when children are allowed to be in charge of their own studies by having choice in the matter and through social interaction taking place in the learning environment. This is why the best place for children to work on reading and, in turn, self-esteem, is in the classroom with their classmates and teachers (Stringer, Reynolds & Simpson, 2003).Bibliotherapy has been used to promote learning in rural schools. One of the three main problems rural schools face in attempting to promote post secondary education is students with low self-esteem. It is believed that this problem is inter-related with other issues of academic run-off and students with low academic or career expectations (Rubisch, 1995). To counter feelings of low self-worth, students can be made to read several types of literature.One study used short stories which where created to be much like a soap opera for the young students. They followed a group of five fictional students through a typical school year who attended a school that...

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