Reading and Texts: Cyberbullying Prevention from Child and Youth Literature

  • Santiago YuberoEmail author
  • Elisa Larrañaga
  • Sandra Sánchez-García
  • Cristina Cañamares


Books offer materials suitable for reflection and analysis, allowing readers to exercise decision-making and problem-solving. The power of literary texts to make readers experience emotions, to present different situations and behaviors to them and even to get them to face their fears and concerns, makes reading a privileged instrument for bullying and cyberbullying prevention. In this chapter, we analyze how literary texts may contribute to moral education of readers and how books can help teachers, parents, and practitioners dealing with bullying and cyberbullying experiences. First, we review how bullying is portrayed in child and youth literature. Second, we describe reading strategies to prevent or intervene in bullying situations with literary texts. Finally, we examine research analyzing the effectiveness of reading practices in bullying intervention. We conclude that reading books dealing with bullying and ongoing discussions on this issue are very suitable to alleviating intimidating behaviors in children. If teachers, educators, and parents are proactive and educate children by carrying out activities of education in values, the problem can diminish before it starts or can be under control at primary and secondary education.


Cyberbullying Prevention Intervention Literature Reading promotion 


  1. Adam, J. M. (1985). Le texte narratif. París: Natham.Google Scholar
  2. Applebee, A. N., Langer, J. A., Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. (2003). Discussion-based approaches to developing understanding: Classroom instruction and student performance in middle and high school English. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3), 685–730. doi:10.3102/00028312040003685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle. Portsmouth: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  4. Beach, R. (1993). Reader response theories. Urbana: National Council of Teacher of English.Google Scholar
  5. Beane, A. L. (2005). The bully free classroom: Over 100 tips and strategies for teachers K-8. Minneapolis: Free Spirit.Google Scholar
  6. Bergen, D. (2002). The role of pretend play in children’s cognitive development. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 4(1), 12–25.Google Scholar
  7. Borgia, L. G., & Myers, J. J. (2010). Cyber safety and children’s literatue: A good match for creating classroom communities. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 38(3), 29–34.Google Scholar
  8. Burns, B. (1998). Changing the classroom climate with literature circles. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 42(2), 124–129.Google Scholar
  9. Cameron, L., & Rutland, A. (2006). Extended contact through story reading in school: Reducing children’s prejudice toward the disabled. Journal of Social Issues, 62(3), 469–488. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.2006.00469.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caughlan, S., Juzwik, M. M., Borsheim-Black, C., Kelly, S., & Fine, J. G. (2013). English teacher candidates developing dialogically organized instructional practices. Research in the Teaching of English, 47, 213–246.Google Scholar
  11. Cart, M. (2010). Young adult literature: From romance to realism. Chicago: American Library Association.Google Scholar
  12. Craig, W. M. (1998). The relationship among bullying, victimization, depression, anxiety, and aggression in elementary school children. Personality and Individual Differences, 24, 123–130. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(97)00145-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Daniels, H. (2001). Literature circles: Voice and choice in bookclubs and reading groups. Portland: Stenhouse.Google Scholar
  14. Day, D., & Kroon, S. (2010). Online literature circles rock! Middle School Journal, 42(2), 18–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DuRant, R. H., Kreiter, S., Sinal, S. H., & Woods, C. R. (1999). Weapon carrying on school property among middle school students. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 153, 21–26. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.1.21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. DuRant, R. H., Altman, D., Wolfson, M., Barkin, S., Kreiter, S., & Krowchuck, D. (2000). Exposure to violence and victimization, depression, substance abuse, and the use of violence by young adolescence. Journal of Pediatrics, 137, 707–713. doi:10.1067/mpd.2000.109146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eagleton, T. (1988). Una introducción a la teoría literaria. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.Google Scholar
  18. Eco, U. (1962). Opera aperta. Forma e indeterminazione nelle poetiche contemporanee. Milano. Bompiani.Google Scholar
  19. Eco, U. (1979). Lector in fabula. La cooperazione interpretativa nei testi narrativi. Milano: Bompiani.Google Scholar
  20. Entenmen, J., Murnen, T. J., & Hendricks, C. (2005). Victims, bullies, and bystanders in K-3 literature. The Reading Teacher, 59(4), 352–364. doi:10.1598/RT.59.4.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eron, L. D. (1987). Aggression through the ages. School Safety (National School Safety Center) News Journal, Fall, 12–16.Google Scholar
  22. Flanagan, K. S., Vanden Hoek, K. K., Shelton, A., Kelly, S. L., Morrison, C. M., & Young, A. M. (2013). Coping with bullying: What answers does children’s literature provide? School Psychology International, 34(6), 691–706. doi:0.1177/0143034313479691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fisher, F. L. (1968). Influences of reading and discussion on the attitudes of fifth graders toward American Indians. The Journal of Educational Research, 62(3), 130–134. doi:10.1080/00220671.1968.10883788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Freedenthal, S., & Breslin, L. (2010). High school teachers’ experiences with suicidal students: A descriptive study. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 15(2), 83–92. doi:10.1080/15325020902928625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Freeman, G. (2010). Picture books to develop strategies for dealing with bullying situations: A resource list created by and for young children. Reading Matters, 11, 6–11.Google Scholar
  26. Freeman, G. (2014). The implementation of character education and children’s literature to teach bullying characteristics and prevention strategies to preeschool childrens: An Action Research Project. Early Childhood Educational Journal, 42, 305–316. doi:10.1007/s10643-013-0614-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Genette, G. (1972). Figures III. Paris: Editions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  28. Gregory, K. E., & Vessey, J. A. (2004). Bibliotherapy: A strategy to help students with bullying. The Journal os School Nursing, 30(3), 127–133. doi:10.1177/10598405040200030201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harvey, P. (2010). Bibliotherapy use by welfare teams in secondary colleges. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(5), 29–39. doi:10.1177/0143034305060792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heath, M. A., & Cole, B. V. (2012). Strengthening classroom emotional support for children following a family memnber’s death. School Psychology International, 33(3), 243–262. doi:10-177/01430311415800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Henkin, R. (2005). Confronting bullying: Literacy as a tool for character education. Portsmouth: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  32. Hillsberg, C., & Spak, H. (2006). Young adult literature as the centerpiece of an anti-bullying program in middle school. Middle School Journal, 38(2), 23–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Holmgren, J., Lamb, J., Miller, M., & Werderich, C. (2011). Decreasing bullying behaviors through discussing Young-adult literatura, role-playing activities and establishing a school-wide definition of bullying in accordance with a common set of rules in language arts and math. Degree of Master of Arts in teaching and leadership. Chicago: Saint Xavier University.Google Scholar
  34. Hunt, P. (1990a). Children’s literature: The development of criticism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Hunt, P. (1990b). Children’s literature: An illustrated history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Iser, W. (1978). The act of reading: A theory of aesthetics response. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Jauss, H. R. (1982). Aesthetic experience and literary hermeneutics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  38. Jones, C. B. (1991). Creative dramatics: A way to modify aggressive behavior. Early Child Development and Care, 73, 43–52. doi:10.1080/0300443910730105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Juzwik, M. M., Borsheim-Black, C., Caughlan, S., & Heintz, A. (2013). Inspiring dialogue: Talking to learn in the English classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  40. Kaywell, J. F. (1993). Adolescents at risk: A guide to fiction and nonfiction for young adults, parents, and professionals. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  41. Kaywell, J. F. (2004). Using literature to help troubled teenagers cope with abuse issues. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  42. Keene, E. O., & Zimmermann, S. (1997). Mosaic of thought. Portsmouth: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  43. King, C. (2001). “I like group reading because we can share ideas”: The role of talk within the Literature Circle. Reading, 35(1), 32–36. doi:10.1111/1467-9345.00157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kochenderfer-Ladd, B. (2004). Peer victimization: The role of emotions in adaptive and maladaptive coping. Social Development, 13(3), 329–349. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2004.00271.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Koeller, S. (1977). The effect of listening to excerpts from children’s stories about Mexican-Americans on the attitudes of sixth graders. Journal of Educational Research, 70(6), 329–334. doi:10.1080/00220671.1977.10885017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kriedler, W. (1996). Smart ways to handle kids who pick on others. Instructor, 106, 70–77.Google Scholar
  47. Lewis, K. M., Amatya, K., Coffman, M. F., & Ollendick, T. H. (2015). Treating nighttime fears in young children with bibliotherapy: Evaluating anxiety symptoms and monitoring behavior change. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 30(1), 103–112. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.12.004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Liebkind, K., & McAlister, A. L. (1999). Extended contact through peer modelling to promote tolerance in Finland. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29, 765–780. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199908/09)29:5/6<765::AID-EJSP958>3.0.CO;2-J.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lluch, G. (2012). La narrativa para los adolescentes del siglo XXI. In B. Roig Rechou, I. Soto López, & M. N. Rodríguez (coords.) (Eds.), A narrativa xuvenil a debate (2000–2011) (pp. 39–57). Vigo: Xerais.Google Scholar
  50. Malo-Juvera, V. (2014). Speak: The effect of literary instruction on adolescents’ rape myth acceptance. Research in the Teaching of English, 48(4), 407–427.Google Scholar
  51. McNamara, B. E., & McNamara, F. J. (1997). Keys to dealing with bullies. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.Google Scholar
  52. Mendoza Fillola, A. (2003). Los intertextos: del discurso a la recepción. In A. M. Fillola & P. C. Cerrillo (coord.) (Eds.), Intertextos: Aspectos sobre la recepción del discurso artístico (pp. 17–60). Cuenca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha.Google Scholar
  53. Mitchell, M. (2009). When consciousness dawns: Confronting homophobia with Turkish high school students. English Journal, 98(4), 67–72.Google Scholar
  54. Monks, C. P., Smith, P. K., & Swettenham, J. (2005). Psychological correlates of peer victimisation in preschool: Social cognitive skills, executive function and attachment profiles. Aggressive Behavior, 31(1), 571–588. doi:10.1002/ab.20099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Morris, V. A., Taylor, S. I., & Wilson, J. T. (2000). Using children’s stories to promote peace in classrooms. Early childhood Education Journal, 28(1), 41–50. doi:1082-3301/00/0900-0041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nystrand, M., & Gamoran, A. (1991). Instructional discourse, student engagement, and literature achievement. Research in the Teaching of English, 25, 261–290.Google Scholar
  57. Nystrand, M., Gamoran, A., Kachur, R., & Prendergast, C. (1997). Opening dialogue: Understanding the dynamics of language and learning in the English classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  58. Oliver, R. L., Young, T. A., & LaSalle, S. M. (1994). Early lessons in bullying and victimization: The help and hindrance of children’s literature. The School Counselor, 42(2), 137–146.Google Scholar
  59. Pérez-Barco, M. J. (2013). ¿Cuál es la edad recomendada para usar las redes sociales?, June 24th.
  60. Petit, M. (2008). El arte de la lectura en tiempos de crisis. Barcelona: Océano.Google Scholar
  61. Pikas, A. (1989). A pure concept of mobbing gives the best result for treatment. School Psychology International, 10, 95–104. doi:10.1177/0143034389102003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pytash, K. E. (2013). Using YA Literature to help preservice teachers deal with bullying and suicide. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56(6), 470–479. doi:10.1002/JAAL.168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Quinn, K. B., Barone, B., Kearns, J., Stackhouse, S. A., & Zimmerman, M. E. (2003). Using a novel unit to help understand and prevent bullying in schools. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(7), 582–591.Google Scholar
  64. Quiroz, H. C., Arnette, J. L., & Stephens, R. D. (2006). Bullying in schools: Fighting the bully battle. National School Safety Center.
  65. Rasinski, T., & Padak, N. (2000). Effective reading strategies. Columbus: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  66. Rosenblatt, L. M. (1977). The reader, the text, the poem. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Ross, D. M. (1996). Childhood bullying and teasing: What school personnel, other professionals, and parents can do. Alexandria: American Counseling Association.Google Scholar
  68. Sanchez-García, S., & Yubero, S. (2013). La literatura de Fernando Alonso: fantástica realidad. Cuenca: Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha.Google Scholar
  69. Sandstrom, M. J. (2004). Pitfalls of the peer world: How chiildren cope with common rejection experiences. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(1), 67–81. doi:10.1023/B:JACP.0000007581.95080.8b.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Shechtman, Z. (1999). Bibliotherapy: An indirect approach to treatment of childhood aggression. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 30(1), 39–53. doi:10.1023/A:1022671009144.Google Scholar
  71. Shechtman, Z. (2000). An innovative intervention for treatment of child and adolescent aggression: An outcome study. Psychology in the Schools, 37(2), 157–167. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6807(200003)37:2<157::AID-PITS7>3.0.CO;2-G.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shechtman, Z. (2006). The contribution of bibliotherapy to the counseling of aggressive boys. Psychotherapy Research, 16(5), 631–636. doi:10.1080/10503300600591312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Short, M. (1989). Reading, analysing and teaching literature. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  74. Sipe, L. R. (2008). Storytime: Young children’s literary understanding in the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  75. Smith, C. A. (1993). The peaceful classroom. Mt. Rainier: Gryphon House.Google Scholar
  76. Sridhar, D., & Vaughn, S. (2000). Bibliotherapy for all: Enhancing reading comprehension, self-concept, and behavior. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33(2), 74–82. doi:10.1177/004005990003300210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tompkins, G. E. (2007). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  78. Vladchou, M., Andreou, E., Botsoglou, K., & Didaskalou, E. (2011). Bully/victim problems among preschool children: A review of current research evidence. Educational Psychology Review, 23(3), 329–358. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9153-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vossekuil, B., Reddy, M., Fein, R., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2000). U.S.S.S. safe school initiative: An interim report on the prevention of targeted violence in schools. Washington, DC: U.S. Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center, U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  80. Wang, C.-H., Lin, Y.-J., Kuo, Y.-C., & Hong, S.-S. (2013). Reading to relieve emotional difficulties. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 26(4), 255–267. doi:10.1080/08893675.2013.849045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wollheim, R. (1983). Flawed crystals. New Literary History, 15, 185–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Yubero, S., & Larrañaga, E. (2011). Cazando valores, valorando lectores. In Leer abre espacios para el diálogo (pp. 145–150). México: Conaculta.Google Scholar
  83. Yubero, S., & Larrañaga, E. (2014). Textos literarios para la prevención del acoso. International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology, 1(5), 313–318.Google Scholar

Literary books cited

  1. Adler, C. S. (1982). The once in a while hero. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, L. H. (2007). TwUted. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  3. Asher, J. (2011). Thirteen reasons why. New York: Razorbill.Google Scholar
  4. Bateman, T. (2004). The bully blockers club. Morton Grove: Albert Whitman & Company.Google Scholar
  5. Berenstain, S., & Berenstain, J. (1993). The Berenstain bears and the bully. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  6. Berenstain, S., & Berenstain, J. (1999). The Berenstain bears lost in cyberspace. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  7. Blume, J. (1983). Blubber. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  8. Bottner, B. (1997). Bootsie barker bites. New York: The Putnam & Grosset Group.Google Scholar
  9. Bracken, B. (2012). The little bully. North Mankato: Capstone Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brooks, K. (2010). iBoy. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, J. (2009). Hate list. New York: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  12. Bryant, A. (2009). Beacon street girts: Just kidding. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  13. Carlson, N. (2010). Henry and the bully. New York: Puffin Books.Google Scholar
  14. Casanova, M. (2009). Chrissa stands strong. Middleton: American Girl Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Casper, M., & Dorsey, T. (2008). Abash and the cyberbully. Hong Kong: Evergrow Ltd.Google Scholar
  16. Conford, E. (1980). The revenge of the incredible Dr. Rancid and his youthful assistant, Jeffrey. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  17. Daughtery, L. (2006). The secret life of girls. Woodstock: Dramatic Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  18. DePaola, T. (2003). Trouble in the Barkers’ class. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  19. Emberley, E. (2007). Bye-bye, big bad bullybug! New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.Google Scholar
  20. Griffiths, H. (1983). Rafa’s dog. New York: Holiday House.Google Scholar
  21. Henkes, K. (1988). Chester’s way. New York: Puffin Books.Google Scholar
  22. Henkes, K. (1991). Chrysanthemum. New York: HarperTrophy.Google Scholar
  23. Hopper, N. J. (1984). Hang on, Harvey! New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  24. Kropp, P. S. (1982). Wilted. New York: Dell.Google Scholar
  25. Lovell, P. (2001). Stand tall, molly Lou Melon. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  26. Lluch, G. (2004). Alzira: Algar.Google Scholar
  27. Mauser, P. R. (1987). A bundle of sticks. New York: Aladdin Books.Google Scholar
  28. McCaffrey, K. (2006). Destroying Avalon. North Freemantle. Australia: Free Mantle Press.Google Scholar
  29. McCord, J. (1979). Turkeylegs Thompson. New York: Atheneum.Google Scholar
  30. Sachar, L. (1987). There’s a boy in the girl’s bathroom. New York: Bullseye.Google Scholar
  31. Sachar, L. (1991). The boy who lost his face. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  32. Wells, R. (1992). Hazel’s amazing mother. New York: Puffin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santiago Yubero
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisa Larrañaga
    • 2
  • Sandra Sánchez-García
    • 3
  • Cristina Cañamares
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and HumanitiesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCuencaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCuencaSpain
  3. 3.Department of PhilologyUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCuencaSpain

Personalised recommendations