Bibliotherapy, the use of literature for mental health and wellbeing, is gaining traction in UK education.
The recent Farmshore Storytime in School research initiative aimed to evaluate the effects of incorporating a daily 20-minute storytime in 20 primary schools. The findings are noteworthy, with a remarkable 77% of children expressing a strong desire for the continuation of storytime, highlighting their genuine enthusiasm. Furthermore, 44% reported an increase in personal reading, showcasing the programme’s effectiveness in instilling a love for reading beyond the scheduled sessions.
Academic progress was evident, as 36% of students demonstrated advancement of over 13 months in their reading age. This aligns with the belief that narratives have the power to shape thoughts and emotions, fostering self-driven behavioural changes.
Additionally, the study revealed that two-thirds of students experienced improved wellbeing, emphasising the therapeutic effects of storytelling. The positive impact extended to the staff as well, with 37% reporting increased calmness in the classroom. This underscores the shared emotional experience created through storytelling, benefiting both students and educators.
Twinkl, a key education resources provider, has played a significant role in supporting bibliotherapeutic initiatives. By offering a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books – such as Twinkl Originals and Rhino Readers – via a mobile app and online, Twinkl contributes to creating a rich literary environment that enhances the effectiveness of bibliotherapy. Their commitment to providing resources that align with educators’ evolving needs fortifies the success of initiatives like the Spring 2023 story time programme. Twinkl continues to develop their book offering to support reading for pleasure.
The Reading Framework reinforces the emotional benefits of reading, enabling pupils to express ideas and feelings. Stories serve as a tool for navigating difficult conversations, allowing individuals, especially children, to see themselves in a broader context. Teachers play a crucial role in modelling healthy emotional responses through shared stories.
“Bibliotherapy is a safe, non-confrontational method of exploring and developing emotions, and can be used to develop an understanding of difficult topics with learners. Children build empathy through their interaction with literature, which in turn has the power to change thoughts and feelings,” explained Katie Rose, Subject Leads Segment Manager at Twinkl.
Beyond academics, the incorporation of storytelling into daily routines proves to be a potent tool for nurturing well-being, fostering empathy, and creating a positive educational environment. As schools recognize the impact of bibliotherapy, it’s clear that the narrative of education is being rewritten, one story at a time.
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