Monday, January 20, 2014

Bibliotherapy

As a first year school psychologist I had a lot to prep over the summer in order to be ready to go for the first day of school. (see "First Year Office").

One area I found that needed "beefing up" was my library, especially because my school's focus (or student learning objective 1 aka SLO 1) for teacher evaluations was on improving reading comprehension. I needed to find a way, as a school psychologist, to improve the skill areas needed for reading comprehension, such as answering "What" questions, making predictions, and understanding character thoughts and feelings. In order to address student needs based on their IEPs AND  find a way to improve reading comprehension with a small cohort of students, I decided to use bibiliotherapy as my vehicle. 

However, I had zero funds to develop a library of books to target the varying grade levels and skills levels of this cohort of students. I spent time perusing the district elementary school's library catalogs and local libraries to find the books I needed. However, options were limited. It was also difficult to track down a book and have to complete a lesson by its due date. I found myself renewing books constantly in an attempt to squeeze lessons in. Don't get me started on finding books that are tailored for specific populations, such as "Whole Body Listening Larry!" 

Then, as though a message from the school psych gods, I received an email for a grant application offered in my district. I used this as an opportunity to get what I needed for my students. I applied for $350 to purchase materials in order to improve students social-emotional competencies using text. Within my proposal I outlined my spending for half of the monies I was asking for. I figured that I should ask for more than I needed for immediate use in order to support any areas that pop up during the school year. 

Right before Christmas break, I learned I had been awarded money for my grant proposal! And, to my surprise, I was awarded my amount in full: all $350! In preparation for this moment I had begun hoarding book titles on a Pinterest board. I also found the blog Books that Heal Kids to be extremely helpful. She has great descriptions of the books and what she likes about them. I spent some time picking and choosing the ones I was most interested in and that were most relevant to my students. I also strove to link books to our Mood Meter and other RULER anchors

Needless to say, I had such a fun time loading up my Amazon cart! Before I knew it I was close to my $350! I decided to save items for another purchase order if I didn't need them immediately, or if I knew our school library had them. I spent approximately $250 and have a few other books to buy on specialized sites, like www. socialthinking.com.

So, without further ado, I present my new bibliotherapeutic library!
Until next thyme,

Erika

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