Sunday, September 29, 2013

Getting Started with Bibliotherapy

      One of my most favorite tools to use as a School Counselor is bibliotherapy, or the use of books as a form of therapy! I use books with individual students, in groups, and especially for classroom lessons. I am constantly on the lookout for new titles on school counseling-related topics, and Books That Heal Kids blog is a fantastic resource that helps me stay up-to-date on the latest therapeutic titles!

How to Build Your Bibliotherapy Library
     I began collecting books for my library during graduate school. But have I spent a fortune on brand new copies of therapeutic topics? No way! Many of my books have been purchased from thrift stores and used book sales. These can be hit or miss, but I have made some great finds for 25 cents to one dollar a piece! In fact, I just visited a local used book sale this week and picked up about fifteen books for $4.45!

This isn’t to say that I haven’t purchased some specific books that I wanted for my collection. I have gotten a few at Scholastic Book Fairs, Warehouse Sales, or online, but truthfully, the majority of my collection has come from secondhand vendors.
How to Organize Your Library
            The picture below shows a portion of my library separated by topic. This keeps my resources organized and easily accessible in the moment or on the go.

Some topics that I have in my library include:
 -Behaviors, Bucket-Filling, Bullying, Careers, Character Building, Coping, Diversity (Respecting Differences), Divorce, Family Relations, Feelings, Friendship, Grief & Loss, Health Concerns, Manners, Military, Self-Esteem, and specific collections such as Dr. Seuss and Pete the Cat!

I also rely on the Book Crawler App for on-the-go access to the topics and titles that I have in my library.  When I’m at a store or book sale and can’t remember if I have a certain book, I can grab my phone and find out. School Counselor Blog has a great blog post with step by step directions on using this App to stay organized.
Don’t Hog Them All For Yourself!
          As a school counselor who moves between three schools, there are a few staple books that I always carry with me. But for the most part, my library sits available at my home base school. Therefore, I make sure teachers know that they are welcome to come sign-out a book anytime they feel that their class or a specific student would benefit. The sign-out sheet lets me know where my resources are at all times. I even have some chapter books that I lend out to students for longer periods.
Join Us!
        Want to learn how other school counselors utilize bibliotherapy? Join us on Twitter this Thursday, October 3rd for #escchat! I will be moderating this chat, and am looking forward to expanding my own knowledge of bibliotherapy!

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