Friday, April 8, 2011


The concept of "bibliotherapy" may ring true for the many of us who would agree that reading -- among its many benefits -- can be therapeutic. It makes us feel connected, recognized, understood, inspired, supported, and even healed. Bibliotherapy has a more specific use in the field of education, and more particularly in the field of literacy, where it has been found to be a powerful tool for teaching and supporting children. I recently found that the International Reading Association (IRA) has a Special Interest Section (SIG) on "Bibliotherapy and Reading," currently chaired by my colleague (across the country!) and friend Dr. Rachel Grant, of George Mason University. This group produces a newsletter and a journal, and holds sessions at IRA conferences. For example, according to a newsletter article by Dr. Grant, "As a result of growing concern for the psycho-social and emotional health and wellbeing of children and youth during times of conflict and war, in 2008 and 2009 the Bibliotherapy and Reading SIG academic sessions addressed the impact of conflict and violence on our youngest and most venerable populations," sharing titles of books that "build resiliency and promote a culture of peace in classrooms and beyond." This is yet another testimony to the power of books and reading. I thank Rachel and her IRA SIG colleagues for the good work they are doing as educators, and in particular through promoting bibliotherapy.

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