• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Bibliotherapy and anxiety levels of 5th graders

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Carol Thompson
Abstract:
Bibliotherapy is defined as the use of books to help individuals solve problems. The purpose of this study was to determine whether bibliotherapy has an effect on the anxiety levels of students as measured by the Beck Anxiety Inventory for Youth. Although there have been studies relating bibliotherapy with a single stressful situation, there has been little to no research relating bibliotherapy with stress in general. Theories underlying this study include the theory of emotional intelligence, reader response theory, theory of differentiation, and the transactional model of stress theory. The sample included 2 groups of 5th graders in a local educational setting in a southern U.S. state. Group A received 2 weeks of bibliotherapy intervention including 3, one hour lessons per week while Group B received traditional story time for 3 sessions per week. After treatment, the groups were again administered the Beck Anxiety Rating Scale inventory. Measurements of anxiety were compared between the two groups and an analysis of covariance was computed and analyzed. A between-subjects measure, as well as a within-subjects measure was also compared after categorizing participants in low stress or high stress. The findings suggested a significant relationship between the use of bibliotherapy and lower levels of anxiety. The implications for social change are that the findings may add to the body of knowledge for educators and parents about a coping strategy, bibliotherapy, which is gaining momentum in the fight against childhood stress and anxiety.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................... vi SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY ............................................................1 Introduction ..........................................................................................................................1 Probem Statement ................................................................................................................1 Nature of Study ....................................................................................................................3 Research Question ...............................................................................................................4 Hypothesis............................................................................................................................4 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................................4 Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................................5 Operational Definitions ......................................................................................................10 Assumptions, Limmitations, Scope, and Delimitations .....................................................11 Significance of the Study ...................................................................................................12 Social Implications.............................................................................................................13 Summary and Overview of Chapters .................................................................................14 SECTION 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ...........................................................................15 Introduction ........................................................................................................................15 Theory of Emotional Intelligence ......................................................................................19 Transactional Model of Stress Theory ...............................................................................20 Reader Response Theory ...................................................................................................22 Theoretical Framework of Bibliotherapy ...........................................................................23 Types of Bibliotherapy ......................................................................................................25 Stages of the Bibliotherapeutic Process .............................................................................26 Implementation ............................................................................................................27 Role of the Facilitator ..................................................................................................28 Benefits of Bibliotherapy ...................................................................................................30 Bibliotherapy Cautions ................................................................................................31 Research Studies ................................................................................................................32 SECTION 3: RESEARCH METHOD..............................................................................46 Introduction ........................................................................................................................46 Research Design and Approach .........................................................................................46 Setting and Sample ............................................................................................................48 Subjects………. .................................................................................................................49 Treatment Protocol.............................................................................................................50 Instrumentation and Materials ...........................................................................................52 Reliability and Validity ................................................................................................55 Materials… ........................................................................................................................56 Data Collection and Analysis.............................................................................................57 Role of the Researcher .......................................................................................................58

iv

SECTION 4: RESULTS ....................................................................................................62 Introduction ........................................................................................................................62 Demographics ....................................................................................................................62 Data Analysis Procedure ....................................................................................................64 Results Detail………. ........................................................................................................65 Hypothesis………........................................................................................................65

SECTION 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................71 Overview… ........................................................................................................................71 Quantitative Results ...........................................................................................................71 Findings………..................................................................................................................72 Supported by Literature ...............................................................................................72 Implications for Social Change ..........................................................................................73 Recommendations for Future Study ..................................................................................74 Conclusion………. ............................................................................................................76 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................77 APPENDIX A: LITERATURE TO BE UTILIZED IN PROPOSED STUDY ................85 APPENDIX B: DATA USE AGREEMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS ............86 APPENDIX C: LESSON PLANS .....................................................................................90 APPENDIX D: NIH CERTIFICATION ...........................................................................99 CURRICULUM VITAE ..................................................................................................100

v

LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Treatment Protocol Administration Schedule ..................................................... 52

Table 2. Cross Tabulation for Frequencies Among Gender and Initial Anxiety Level within Group A ......................................................................................................... 63

Table 3. Cross Tabulation for Frequencies Among Gender and Initial Anxiety Level within Group B ......................................................................................................... 63

Table 4. Descriptive Statistics about Pre/Post Tests for Both Groups .............................. 64

Table 5. Descriptive Statistics from ANCOVA Analysis Indicating Significant Differences Between Group A & Group B ............................................................... 69

vi

LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Design of experimental and control group .........................................................47 Figure 2. Levels of anxiety based on the BAI-Y ...............................................................54 Figure 3. Histogram of the posttest anxiety Z score (posttest) ..........................................66 Figure 4. Normal probability plot depicting normal distribution ......................................67

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Introduction Stress, to varying degrees, is a part of everyday life for adults. For children, stress is compounded by the fact that most lack the coping mechanisms to adequately deal with it. Prater, Johnstun, Dyches, and Johnston (2006) found that students are labeled at risk of school failure because of the stress factors caused by social, economic, and family related issues. Educators cannot factor this problem out of the academic equation because teaching a child involves reaching the child in all areas. Stress contributed to a number of the referrals to the local school counselor of the school curtained under the study (L. Lanier, personal communication, August, 2007). The concept of bibliotherapy was examined as a method in coping and dealing with the myriad of stresses that envelop students. Advocates and leaders of bibliotherapy in this decade, such as Pardeck (2004), defined the term as a way of coping using books, mostly fiction, that allows students to equate their problems with another and in return effectively deal with their personal issues. Past research contributed to this study by providing a theoretical and conceptual framework for the current project. A summary of theories will be provided in Chapter 1 and a more thorough investigation of those theories will be laid out in Chapter 2.

Problem Statement The stress that students attempt to cope with is a problem in elementary schools (Ouzts & Paolombo, 2004). They stated: The world has changed and so have our children. We are no longer solely concerned with children who chew gum in class but with children who are

2 burdened with stress and anxiety in their lives. And, our culture has changed. The school population is diverse, the issues numerous, and the challenges sometimes insurmountable. (p. 1)

The adverse effects of stress on the self concept and academic achievement of students compounded by the lack of coping mechanisms provide difficulties for the classroom environment (Allen & Marotz, 2003; Cornett & Cornett, 1980; Galen & Johns, 1979; Gunnar & Barr, 1998; Lombroso & Sapolsky, 1998; McLoyd, 1998; Monk, Fifer, Myers, Sloan, Trien, & Hurtado, 2000). This problem not only impacts the student’s self concept, it attacks the learning potential of the student (National Council on the Developing Child, 2007). There are many underlying reasons for the stresses in a child’s life. Problems range from divorce, poverty, drugs, obesity, to physical and developmental imperfections. (Middlebrooks, 2008). Bibliotherapy has proven to be effective in dealing with specific issues children encounter. Much research has been done correlating the efficacy of bibliotherapy with a single crisis such as with gifted children (Nugent, 2002), bullying (Brinson, 2005), abuse (Pardeck, 1990), issues of divorced parents (Nuccio, 1997), suspended children (Schreur, 2006), and handicaps (Beardsley, 1982). However, there appears to be little research with regard to the efficacy of bibliotherapy when dealing with children who, for whatever reason, exhibit high levels of stress and anxiety. This research study is designed to explore the effect of bibliotherapy on stress in general as opposed to bibliotherapy use with students and a single stress factor. For the purposes of this study the independent variable is defined as the type of reading program (bibliotherapy or not), and the dependent variable is defined as the anxiety level of the participants.

3 Nature of Study Based on the literature review of bibliotherapy, childhood stress, and educational theories, this project applied current research methods to analyze the relationship between them and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably. For the purposes of this study, the terms can be truncated by saying that “stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or stressor” (Ballas, 2009, p. 1) and that “anxiety is stress that continues after the stressor is gone” (Ballas, 2009, p. 1). Throughout this study, the terms will be used simultaneously with the preconception that stress turns into anxiety if not dealt with, and that students are not yet able to cope with stress. It is likely that students who have stress also possess anxiety in some fashion. This quasi-experimental quantitative study, using a pretest posttest control group design, investigated the outcome of bibliotherapeutic intervention on students who display various levels of stress. The sample consisted of 53 students. They were grouped into either a bibliotherapy group or a nonbibliotherapy group. The instruments used in this study included the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI-Y) for Youth developed by Beck (1993). This particular inventory produces both reliable and valid results using a 4-point Likert type scale (Beck, 1993). The materials that were used were story time books of seasonal value for the group not receiving bibliotherapy. The materials used in the bibliotherapy group will be outlined in the following sections. Appendix A annotates all literature utilized during the study. The independent variable was the type of treatment (traditional story time or bibliotherapeutic story time). The level or ranking of anxiety was the dependent variable. Comparative data were analyzed using the SPSS statistical program.

4 Statistical analysis was conducted to review data concerning the average of the means between both the experimental group and the control group. In addition, there was a between-groups analysis as well as a within-groups analysis. The following specifics guided the study.

Research Question Is there a relationship between bibliotherapy and anxiety levels of students in fifth grade?

Hypotheses For the purposes of this study the null hypothesis will be represented as H o , and the alternative hypothesis will be represented by H 1 . 1. H o : There is no significant relationship between participation in a bibliotherapy program and students’ anxiety. 2. H 1 : There is a significant relationship between participation in a bibliotherapy reading program and students’ anxiety levels. Chapter 3 will extensively detail specifics to the implementation of said study.

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of bibliotherapy on student stress levels. “An effective teacher knows that what the child brings from home cannot be left outside the classroom door, and for a lesson to be truly powerful, it must go home

5 with the child” (Tomlinson, 1999, p. 32) Teachers should accept that they are not just a dispenser of knowledge but a facilitator of learning. Before learning takes place, learners must have an open mind free of conflict. Students are consumed with life and all the stress that entails. Before the educator can teach the child, they must reach the child. This is improbable if the student is overwhelmed with life’s issues. The effective teacher is burdened with this issue. Educators and school librarians today are facing new challenges that go well beyond the traditional expectation of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. These challenges take many forms. Many students enter the educational system lacking the necessary social, emotional, and academic prerequisites to be successful. (Cook, Earles-Vollrath, & Ganz, 2006, p. 91)

Students are bombarded with a multiple stressors, situations both positive and negative, that they have experienced prior to even entering the classroom (Jeffries, 2006). The purpose of this study was to investigate the research and advent the proposed theory of bibliotherapy to address the problem of childhood stress and lack of necessary coping strategies.

Theoretical Framework Bibliotherapy alone is a theory. For the purposes of this study, it can be further assumed that bibliotherapy is an attempt to cope with stress and improve emotional intelligence. For this reason educational theories such as Emotional Intelligences, Transactional Model of Stress, Differentiation, and Reader Response Theory will be defined. Stress and its adverse health and behavioral effects will be discussed within the framework as well.

6 Stress is reiterated in literature and research from medical fields as a source of physical and mental problems in adults as well as children. Marion (2003) identified two different sources of stress including internal and external. External stressors may include separation from loved ones, violence, change in lifestyle, and/or emotional issues. Internal stressors may include hunger, physical sickness, injury, or pain, and/or sensitivities to light or pain. “Research indicates that the negative impact of stress is more profound on children who are younger than age 10” (Monk et al., 2000, p. 2). McLoyd (1998) added that “children who live in poverty, who live in violent communities, or who are bullied in school settings are also subject to more external stress than other children” (p. 2). Students who exhibit stress often outwardly portray indicators including crying, toileting accidents, misbehavior, excessive chewing or sucking fingernails, thumbs, hair, among others (Fallin, Wallinga, & Coleman, 2001; Marion, 2003; Stransbury & Harris, 2000). On the other hand, stress may be categorized by over shyness, over achievement, depression, avoidance, excessive worrying, or awkwardness in social settings (Marion, 2003; Monk et al., 2000; Zegans, 1982). The Centers for Disease Control (2008) categorized three types of stress, positive, tolerable, and toxic. According to their publication “the beneficial aspects of stress diminish when it is severe enough to overwhelm a child’s ability to cope effectively” (p. 3). Additionally they claimed that prolonged exposure to tolerable and toxic stress can lead to negative health effects as a child as well as adult problems including alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. With stress, the development of the brain may be impaired causing delays in all growths as well as the functioning ability of the nervous

7 and immune system is highly compromised. “The essential feature of toxic stress is the absence of consistent, supportive relationships to help the child cope” (NSCDC, 2000, p. 11). Childhood stress has even been related to adult poor health by studies like the one conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permanente (2006). This study concluded given an exposure to one adverse childhood experience, there is an 80% likelihood of exposure to another, suggesting that studying each risk factor separately might lead to limited understanding of the true burdens carried by children into their adult lives. (p. 3).

The impact of this study in relation to bibliotherapy; however, is that the ACE implies that what society views as “problem behaviors such as tobacco use, overeating, etc. may indeed be solution behaviors to people trying to comfort themselves and cope with trauma” (p. 3). With this idea, it is possible to explain both positive and negative coping strategies. Jefferies (2006) explains the mirroring effect of how parents deal [cope] with stress. She says that often children or students mirror the stress in the adult’s life. Zegans (1982) claims that children experience stress in four tiers including (a) alarm and physical reaction, (b) appraisal where the child tries to make meaning from the event, (c) child searches for a coping strategy, and (d) implementation of strategies. This study is geared in developing a coping strategy to help children deal with their stress. There are several key theories to be addressed in this study as they relate to the rationale for implementing a bibliotherapy class. The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) was developed by a cognitive psychologist, Gardner (1983). He suggested that the intelligence of a being is not one single process or even a unified set of processes but that there are multiple and

8 varied autonomous intelligences. Because of the relationship between emotional intelligence and how we cope with stress, the MI theory is related to bibliotherapy. This theory will be discussed further in Chapter 2. Gardner’s theory opened the door for Mayer and Salovey’s (1990) Theory of Emotional Intelligence. It states that emotions and feelings to guide thinking and actions. How one thinks and acts directly relates to how one deals with stress. Based on Mayer and Salovey’s theory, Goleman (1995) furthered their studies and acclamations. He suggested that the intelligence quotient (IQ) contributes to 20% of success in life and that the remaining 80% of a person’s success depends on factors non-related to mental intelligence. In addition to theories of emotions the Transactional Model of Stress theory developed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) will be discussed. The key element of this theory is that it is how people deal with (cope) with stress that regulates well being. Bibliotherapy can be related to these theories in that it is a process in which to discuss feelings and emotions in relation to a story. These theorists (Gardner, 2006; Goleman, 2006; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984;Mayer & Salovey, 1997) claimed that in order to learn and become a well adjusted individual, one must first be able to handle the stressors they encounter. Rosenblatt’s (1938) Reader Response Theory was originally adapted in the late 1930s with multiple follow ups throughout the years. Rosenblatt’s theory claims that it is not the text itself that is meaningful but what the reader evokes from it. In this theory it is essential that the reader interact with the words more so than just reading it passively. According to Rosenblatt, “the reader brings to the work personality, traits, memories of past events, present needs, preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment, and a

9 particular physical condition” (p. 31). She also notes that readers “meet extremely compelling images of life that undoubtedly influence the crystallization of their ultimate attitudes, either of acceptance or rejection” (p. 20). In the 1930s there was much criticism of this claim, yet has achieved much popularity at the turn of the century with educators embracing the idea. Rosenblatt has become an icon for literature teachers in that passionate discussions have formulated based on readers and their response. The current study is an effort to correlate Rosenblatt’s theory to the bibliotherapy theory. Bibliotherapy is related to the Reader Response theory in that it is how an individual feels about the passage he or she reads can help them deal with a similar real life situation. Tilley (2000) contrasted the two theories in that The aim of reader response is to authentically transact with a text in order to create an aesthetic experience” while “the aim of bibliotherapy is to transact with a text and with others about the text in order to construct new knowledge concerning the self. (p. 173)

This theory will further be discussed in Chapter 2. Current research trends lead educators down the path of differentiation highlighted by renowned professionals including Tomlinson (2003) and Marzano (2003). Both contended that instruction should be differentiated for each individual child to best meet the needs of the student. These theorists implored educators to vary instruction based on the mental, emotional, physical, and developmental deficits of the child as well as their individual interests. In relation to bibliotherapy, stress, coping, and modern needs, differentiation offers a model for educators to use in their day to day activities. The relevance of differentiation and the correlation it has with this research study will be further discussed in Chapter 2.

10 The above theories justify educators to address the whole child rather than solely the mental and intellectual aspect of the learner. In order to adequately educate students, it is vital to circumvent all aspects of the child’s personal self.

Operational Definitions For the purpose of this study, the following definitions will be used: At-Risk: “a set of presumed cause-effect dynamics that place an individual child or adolescent in danger of negative outcomes” (McWhirter et al., 2004, p. 6). Anxiety: the product of stress that continues even after the stressor disappears (Ballas, 2009). Beck Anxiety Inventory for Youth (BAI-Y): the anxiety inventory administered to determine which level of stress students, if any, students possess. It is considered to be the definitive instrument for measuring anxiety in children (Beck, 1993). Bibliotherapy: “the use of books to help people solve problems” (Aiex, 1993, p. 1). Bibliotherapy Story time: when students come to the media center and the media specialist chooses selections based on the correlation of selection to stress related issues. Coping: “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person” (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984, p. 141). Facilitator: the person who conducts the bibliotherapy story as well as the proceeding activities to follow up. Schreur (2006) claimed that this is the most crucial

11 aspect of bibliotherapy. The facilitator serves three major roles including “a positive encourager, enforcer of expectations, and discussion guide” (p. 109). For the purposes of this study the researcher, the facilitator, and the media specialist are all the same. Stress: “a response to any situation or factor that creates a negative emotional, physical, or behavioral change” (Medical Reference Encyclopedia, 2007, p. 1). Traditional Story time: when students come to the media center and the media specialist chooses selections based on seasonal content, information literacy content, and/or humor content.

Assumptions, Limitations, Scope, and Delimitations The study employed quasi-experimental research. It assumed that the degree of bibliotherapy was controlled by the researcher. The study included the researcher working with a small population (53 students), with a limited time frame (2 weeks), and using the available population of the school. It was assumed that all students were eager and willing participants in the bibliotherapy intervention program. It is further assumed that all students were present in attendance on the days of the bibliotherapy interventions. Additionally it is assumed that all students honestly answered to their best ability on the anxiety inventory providing the results for analysis. One limit of this study was that identification of anxiety levels was limited to a singular stress inventory, the BAI-Y. Students were limited to fifth grade students. The bibliotherapy lessons were conducted using multiple and varied stressors and not targeted towards a single stressful problem indicator. Another weakness includes that the

12 researcher has limited training in formal facilitation of such program. The qualifications and role of the researcher will be discussed in a later chapter. Another limitation includes the fact that the sample may not be truly representative of the whole population. This study will not be generalizable to all ages of the student population. A delimitation includes the fact that the researcher conducted the research in the school where employed. There could have been a possibility of researcher bias. Additionally, the researcher also served as the facilitator of the experimental group. Because the test instrument for this study is both valid and reliable, it was less likely for the researcher to impose personal opinion or sway answers. Finally, another weakness includes that this study was limited to one elementary school in a rural state. The demographics of this school will vary from other schools. The proposed school is predominantly low socioeconomic, and a limitation was that the results may not be representative of other subcultures.

Significance of the Study To place significance on the study it is reiterated that the problem is that students face much stress in their environment and lack sufficient coping skills to deal with it productively. This study will contribute to the body of knowledge needed to address this problem by analyzing the relationship between one specific coping mechanism, bibliotherapy, and the level of student stress and anxiety. The study includes information regarding implementing bibliotherapy in an elementary school and was designed to provide rationale for stakeholders to decide whether or not bibliotherapy is a viable tool

13 to reduce stress in students. It is hoped that by equipping students with coping skills, the level of emotional intelligence will increase. In turn, mental intelligence and student achievement improves (Gardner, 1993). By No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards, adequate yearly progress is made when student achievement improves by a predetermined target. Gardner (1993) suggested that by overcoming emotional issues first and targeting the emotional intelligence of the child will result in growth among other intelligences in the long run.

Social Implications The results of this research may possibly contribute to the realm of knowledge by providing educators information related to the implications of bibliotherapy. Results will indicate if there is a relationship between bibliotherapy and the anxiety level of students. If there is a correlation, this information would be valuable to all educational stakeholders because it would provide a rationale for implementing this therapeutic tool. Additionally, the results of this study may have the potential for social change by providing a coping mechanism to help children deal with anxiety as well as assist teachers in developing emotional intelligence among their students. Because studies indicate that stress in childhood leads to health problems in adulthood, social implications are great in the regards that society will benefit if research proves bibliotherapy as a coping mechanism.

14 Summary This study embodies the helping nature of an educator. By researching bibliotherapy, it is hoped that options for student coping strategies will be discovered. They key components of this research includes implementing a bibliotherapy program with a select group of students and administration of the Beck Anxiety Inventory for Youth to determine whether or not the treatment is beneficial to reducing stress in students. Proceeding chapters will outline the study further. Chapter 2 discusses the review of related literature in regards to such theories as the Emotional Intelligence Theory, Transactional Model of Stress Theory, Reader Response Theory, and the Differentiation Theory. Past research studies will be summarized in relation to bibliotherapy and specific stressors. Chapter 2 covers the process, procedures, advantages, and disadvantages of bibliotherapy as well. Chapter 3 describes the population used in the study, the instruments used, the research design, selecting and description of the control and experimental groups, and the procedures and methodology used in the study. Chapter 4 discusses the results of the data analysis after the second administration of the Beck Anxiety Inventory for children. Chapter 5 discusses the findings of this study, the implications for using bibliotherapy, the limitations of this study, the recommendations for future research, and the conclusion of this study.

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction The current study is aimed to determine whether or not bibliotherapy is a viable tool in decreasing the stress levels of students. A\review of literature was conducted using various tools such as Walden library, Galileo, professional learning resources in local and school communities, and on-line articles. EBSCO key terms used in the search included bibliotherapy, reader response, anxiety, children’s stress, emotional intelligence, coping strategies, stress, and reading. Organization of the review is arranged so that key theories related to the problem are discussed first and then a synopsis of how research relates to them. The review of literature relates to the problem because the hypothesis states that bibliotherapy does in fact decrease students’ stress levels. Research indicated that bibliotherapy can be useful in helping students who are experiencing difficult life circumstances such as children dealing with bullying, divorced parents, giftedness, autism, or learning difficulties. Teaching is considered to belong to a group of helping professions that also include counselors, physicians, psychologists, nurses, and librarians (Nugent, 2002). After investigation on this particular issue, the researcher intends to develop and implement theory based practices that support the use of bibliotherapy in the school. It is hoped, as a result of this research, that teachers will recognize the importance of media and bibliotherapy when concerned with self-concept, lower anxiety, and student achievement. Romano (1997) claimed: given the major problems facing youth, schools, and society, it is important for educators to be aware of student-identified stressors and their methods of coping.

16 Such knowledge can increase the educator’s understanding of youth and assist them in their educational practices. (p. 274)

A bibliotherapy program can be implemented to best benefit the social, emotional, and academic attitudes of learners. “An effective teacher knows that what the child brings from home cannot be left outside the classroom door, and for a lesson to be truly powerful, it must go home with the child” (Tomlinson, 1999, p. 32) Before learning takes place, learners must have an open mind free of conflict. Tomlinson (1999; 2003), a leader in the concept of differentiation, promoted that although all students need to understand the same principles and even use the same skills, educators must understand the differences in which each child learns. It is paramount to disseminate information in a variety of ways in order to connect with each learner. Teachers must teach the child and not at the child (Tomlinson, 2001). Any lesson including one of literature must include meaningful connections and must meet the needs of the learner before it is relevant to the student’s life (Vacca, 2004). Another concept in the theory of differentiation that both Tomlinson (1999; 2003) and Marzano (2003) agreed on is that teaching is a holistic effort to teach the whole child and that differentiation in the classroom involves modifications based on student readiness, interest, and learning profile. Differentiation can be acknowledged academically, physically, emotionally or socially. “What we share in common makes us human. How we differ makes us individuals” (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 1). Even when promoting differentiation in the classroom, Tomlinson reiterates that it is how the student perceives the lesson as to how well they relate to it thus how well they achieve. “Bibliotherapy requires that one knows his or her students very well, and understands

Full document contains 112 pages
Abstract: Bibliotherapy is defined as the use of books to help individuals solve problems. The purpose of this study was to determine whether bibliotherapy has an effect on the anxiety levels of students as measured by the Beck Anxiety Inventory for Youth. Although there have been studies relating bibliotherapy with a single stressful situation, there has been little to no research relating bibliotherapy with stress in general. Theories underlying this study include the theory of emotional intelligence, reader response theory, theory of differentiation, and the transactional model of stress theory. The sample included 2 groups of 5th graders in a local educational setting in a southern U.S. state. Group A received 2 weeks of bibliotherapy intervention including 3, one hour lessons per week while Group B received traditional story time for 3 sessions per week. After treatment, the groups were again administered the Beck Anxiety Rating Scale inventory. Measurements of anxiety were compared between the two groups and an analysis of covariance was computed and analyzed. A between-subjects measure, as well as a within-subjects measure was also compared after categorizing participants in low stress or high stress. The findings suggested a significant relationship between the use of bibliotherapy and lower levels of anxiety. The implications for social change are that the findings may add to the body of knowledge for educators and parents about a coping strategy, bibliotherapy, which is gaining momentum in the fight against childhood stress and anxiety.