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Storytelling In Your Area - North West England: 2018 onwards

Since January 2018 we have organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

Dee Banks School, Chester. 12/07/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 27 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good" and one as “4/5 - Good". Comments were:

  • “Lots of interaction which they all enjoyed. Good sitting and lots of smiling. All of them were very focused. Brilliant storytelling. Larger-than-life that kept the boys attention. [I was surprised that] there were lots of smiles from J - very focused. Hard for a SC class to sit for so long so it was very beneficial to all. [In the longer term this will help with] being able to cope with sitting and waiting for their personal involvement within the story but still being entertained by it. One focus was one to one with another in their class. I think the whole session was brilliant. Staff were entertained to. Our class thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful props. Very flowing. Thank you.”
  • “[The session helped with] differentiated through target questioning N / north. Working on the waiting skills. Touching new materials. [I was surprised that] one child was highly involved; he struggles to stay focused but when it came to his turn he regained attention. Lots of smiles. They love the enthusiasm and wide range of sensory used. The teacher loved it too! [In the longer term this will help them] touch more materials confidently. Know that their turn in soon. Extend learning. Focus and attention. Motivator. They enjoyed.”
  • “Good story. Very well told. Kept the children engaged and interactive. [I was surprised that] all enjoyed it being so interactive. [In the longer term this will help] encourage them to read more stories. Get a better understanding of stories. Was excellent.”
  • “All listened and participated in the first story which is unusual for three of the children. All enjoyed the sensory parts of the story and the interactive parts. In the second half of the second-story the seagull grabbed their attention. The Storyteller made sure all participated in the story so did amazingly well!! [In the longer term this will help with] getting them to sit and listen and also better instructions to the participation for the sensory parts.”
  • “[The session helped with] turn taking and fine motor skills. The story held their attention better than I thought it would. [In the longer term this will] Help develop listening skills.”

Landgate School - Secondary, Ashton-in Makersfield. 14/06/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 34 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 34 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • “This group of students don't often get the opportunity to access sensory activities as they are of a higher ability but they loved the story and the sensory experiences. [I was surprised that] they particularly enjoyed the music and bopped along to it. [In the longer term this will help] as part of their learning as more complex texts. They could use this type of experience to full immerse.”
  • “The storytelling was excellent The learners were enthralled, enjoying the exciting presentation. Each learner being given their own turn and time. The story was told in engaging way and the book props were multi-sensory helping the learners become a real part of the story. [I was surprised that] one learner was particularly enthralled and couldn't take her eyes away from the storyteller and the props she was using. Another learner is very reluctant to try new things and does not like smells but he smelled it without hesitation. [In the longer term] they will be able to recount the story discussing with each other and with an adult. They could develop their own skills by writing about the story or make props which would help some learners to remember what they saw and heard. Excellent.”
  • “They were very engaged with the story. Good resources to go with the story. All learners interacted well. One in particular really engaged with the story and sensory boards. [In the longer term this will help them] to use sensory boards in lesson times”
  • “This was a fantastic session. All of the learners were able to take part and they all really enjoyed it, the stories were very sensory which our learners enjoy. All four learners reacted better than expected, really looking and listening and taking part in both stories. [In the longer term] it gives learners confidence being in a small group and taking part.”
  • “Our learners enjoy more hands on practical learning so it was a very nice session. Learners seemed engaged and excited.”
  • “The session was very well delivered. The storyteller was animated and fun! [In the longer term] I think it encourages focus for other activities.”
  • “Sensory story. Enthusiastic storytelling. Helps with turn taking and thinking about the next stage of the story. [I was surprised that] lower ability learners enjoyed the sensory aspect whilst higher ability could predict. [In the longer term this will help with] attention, focus, sensory experience, depicting a story and turn taking. Perfect session.”

Progress School, Preston. 07/06/18

Our storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 7 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all 7 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All seven rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • “T listened really well and participated in holding objects and touching the boards. T was lying on the floor and the storyteller was bringing the boards to him. T was hitting the board and the gong. T was happy to participate and found it easier to have things bought to him.”
  • “Although the pupil refused the activity at the beginning the staff engaged him very well in the end. He repeated the key words and touched the sensory boards. [In the longer term this will help with] improving vocabulary, better social interaction and the focus of attention for a longer time.
  • “T enjoyed the interaction and the smelly cheese. Enjoyed the noise of the baked bean cans. Kept his interest all the way through. [In the longer term this will help with] dealing with loud noises when out.”
  • “[The storyteller] engaged with the young person really well. Good tool to use for learning to read. Excellent interaction from the young person. Engaged really well. [In the longer term this] will help to learn to read as young person loves looking at books. Helping young person to tolerate different smells.”
  • “Engaged the young person really good. Great for sensory needs and good learning to read and listening really well. Great for learning to spell. Great interaction and engaged - listened well. [In the longer term this] will help the young person to read and role play. Young person enjoyed the colours and different things he can interact with.”
  • “The young person enjoyed the session, accepted help from staff and interacted. Lots of smiles which showed she was happy and interested.”

Green Fold School, Bolton. 24/05/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 39 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good" and one as “4/5 - Good". Comments were:

  • “Good use of props All participants were given chance to take part. Good use of fine motor skills with props. It was lovely for our pupils to experience a new person reading them a story and seeing a new way for a story to be presented.”
  • “All participants benefitted from the story session today. Very happy children. Two very good stories which the children enjoyed. [I was surprised that] K flapped and got really excited whilst D stayed focussed throughout the session and giggled when being tickled. All children enjoyed the props. [In the longer term this will help with] more exploring and trusting new people.”
  • “The Storyteller was very animated and engaging. Boards were easy accessible and every child was able to explore. [I was surprised that] they were engaged for extended periods. We hope for our pupils to have more access to multi-sensory stories and storytelling. Also give Teachers, TA’s and staff lessons to develop. The Storyteller was fantastic. Thank you so much.”
  • “The sensory props used throughout the story made the story even more exciting. As the children in our class engage well with sensory props it was very beneficial. The storyteller was very enthusiastic and helped the children engage with the story. [I was surprised that] the children were more involved, very engaged, reaching out. Good for children with HI and VI as includes noises and smells. [In the longer term this will be] very good for including some children’s targets e.g. posting things and sliding doors for fine motor skills.”
  • “It was great for all areas of learning. Lovely props to explore. [I was surprised that] all enjoyed exploring the props and joining in. [In the longer term we plan to] have more sessions in school.”

Lancasterian School, Manchester. 17/05/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 28 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the 28 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • “Each of our children seemed to enjoy both of the stories. All of them managed to sit and stay focussed. They really enjoyed all the objects in the stories too. One of the children did a lot of vocalising that they would not usually do.”
  • “Our pupils have really enjoyed the story. They've enjoyed the touch, smell and sound that was used for the story. The materials that were used were very good for our children to explore. [I was surprised that] all our participants co-operated very well. They smiled, looked at the pops and reached out. They were very engaged listening to the story. For example one child enjoyed touching the beard and another was fascinated looking at the treasure box. [In the longer term] they will benefit to listen to more of these sensory stories which will encourage their listening skills and exploring sensory materials.”
  • “The children were able to investigate different resources (sensory boards). Slightly different than other class activities - wide range of resources. And accessible. Great enthusiasm from the storyteller who gave her enthusiasm and interaction to the pupils. [I was surprised that] K was excited when presented with resources, F and O were both engaged for long periods of time, F interacted with resources and was willing to investigate, A appeared to enjoy the session and resources. [In the longer term this will help] pupils to receive sensory stories several times a week. The stories are different to the stories delivered in school. Variety of story/resources that differ from school resources. Beneficial for staff to gain understanding of how to deliver a quality, pacey and interactive session. Excellent session delivered at a good pace that involved and included all the pupil's in the group. Great passion and enthusiasm from the storyteller when both delivering the stories and during the welcome. Great resources that were all accessible. Many thanks - great enjoyable session.”
  • “Very sensory for all the learners in the class and was adapted for the different learners. [I was surprised that] they all reacted in different ways especially 'surprises' there were included in the story. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipating reactions in the story, which engages emotional feelings associated with the story. Ties in with the curriculum.”
  • “Lots of sensory props. Smelling touching and great interaction. Children really enjoyed the story especially the snakes. Very different to their other sensory stories like the rickety train. [I was surprised that there was] lots of smiling, laughs and good looking from some pupils. Pupils looked like they were really enjoying the stories. One child reacted really well to the smelling- smelling the mango. One girl did very good looking. Another girl did lots of the activities which are different than she is used to. [In the longer term] todays story helped with good looking and touching. The storyteller was fantastic at telling the stories and the children were really engaged. Thank you.”
  • “Storytelling was very interactive with a fantastic storyteller. Participants were alert and engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the story. Very accessible to all the learners, incorporates numeracy and encourages movement and communication with sensory responses. I was very impressed with responsiveness from two students in particular. Lovely to see the storyteller - good experience for myself to witness - more animation to get more engagement and responses. Can we keep you for more than one day?!”

Landgate School - Primary, Ashton-in Makersfield. 10/05/18

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 40 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 40 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • “The storybooks were excellent for our sensory learners. All learners were engaged, waiting their turn of each page. Learners even gestured for more. Loved the tactile pages and our learners particularly enjoyed the musical page. [I was surprised that] all learners were engaged for both stories. [In the longer term this will] allow them to enjoy storytelling sessions, help them to retell stories and also sequence them. We will also be able to use the books for the learners to retell or make up their own stories.”
  • “All sensory aspects kept all learners engaged. [I was surprised they were] smiling and touching all objects. [In the longer term this will help them to be] more engaged in stories and I will be able to use these techniques in future.”
  • “They all engaged with the story and each one took time to look. [I was surprised that] all learners were calm and gave good eye contact. They looked at sensory boards. [In the longer term] knowing that the learners are calm and engaged means I can adapt class stories into a more sensory way to benefit learners. Everything was spot on.”
  • “All engaged with the session and showed good attention. The multi-sensory elements enabled children to experience stories in an exciting and engaging way. [I was surprised that] all learners sat for long periods and maintained attention. W repeated phrases from the story whilst K added his own detail. [In the longer term this will] allow them to sit for an extended time period. I will be able to present literature in engaging ways. It will encourage learners to engage with stories better in the future.”
  • “They were more interested in a story. Were all excited for their turn. Two learners were totally engaged when normally they show no interest, especially one who usually walks off but sat throughout. [In the longer term this will help with] concentration levels.”

Heaton Special School, Stockport. 07/05/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 33 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the 33 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good". Comments were:

  • “The students responded really well. They really enjoyed touching the props. [I was surprised that] one student who is visually impaired and tactile defensive touched the props which is excellent for her. [In the longer term] they will hopefully have more access to the sensory stories we already have in school.”
  • “Repetition, simplicity and resources. One student was much more engaged that expected. [In the longer term this will help with] communication and working in a group.”
  • “All participants were engaged. They focused on the sensory props and explored them (supported if necessary). [I was surprised that] one student grabbed the furry spider with both hands. Another used their hand to explore the sea urchin for a good length of time. A third student remained quiet and calm during the story and a fourth student held and shook an instrument independently. [In the longer term this will help with] social interaction, communication and willing to explore sensory objects.”
  • “A new way for interaction, focus, calming and enjoyable session. When the story was repeated there seemed to be recognition, suggesting to me that repetition was useful. More sessions would be useful. [In the longer term this will help with] improving focus and mood. This was a 1:1 session and was ideal for the listener. Thought the session was perfect.”
  • “Resources and props were excellent – very interactive and prompted students to laugh at each other and reach out for their turn. [I was surprised that] N, who often opts out, was laughing and interacting with all the props. He especially liked the wig and the mirror.”
  • “Very interactive. Some students raised their heads, listening more and more as the story continued. Physical everyday objects we use and action. Expressive storytelling, physical interaction. Repetition good. The pupils were engaging with every activity more and more, as activity continued. Some students looking at each other and anticipating their turn and looking at each others' reactions. [In the longer term this will help with] using everyday items in social situations.”

Woodlands School, Blackpool. 14/03/18

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all bar two of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good" and three as “4/5 - Good". Comments were:

  • “It was beneficial due to being hands on. Maybe could have done with duplicate props. If done more frequently the children would be able to be more involved i.e. doing signs and noises.”
  • “The children enjoyed the props and sound effects and being involved in it. [I was surprised that] one child listened to the noises really well and showed a reaction. The other children enjoyed taking part and waited well for their turn. [In the longer term] they could develop listening and recall skills. It could be used to give pupils a choice to tell the story themselves.”
  • “Our pupils enjoyed the interaction in the story. They enjoyed looking and touching the different things. They also did very well taking turns. One child who doesn't usually sit in circle time sat during the entire story because he liked joining in. Every child joined in with all the interactions. Lots of eye contact and answers given. [In the longer term] they may be more willing to sit and take turns as they know they will get a turn. Staff have come away with new ideas.”
  • “The children really enjoyed the story and was beneficial as it was hands on. [I was surprised that] some of the children sat and listened and enjoyed the interaction. [In the longer term this will help with] interaction, turn taking, exploring, learning to listen, joining in and using their voice. Overall our 5 children enjoyed the session and the interaction and listened. They did really well using the props. All the children enjoyed this session.”
  • “It matched different sensory needs and preferences. Children with hearing impairment enjoyed the tactile and visual props. [I was surprised that] C was excited by the more interactive elements of story. B touched more things than he sometimes does. [In the longer term this] will help staff in telling interactive and sensory stories. Helped some of them to follow whole story.”

The Coppice School, Preston. 13/03/18

Our storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 46 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all bar two of the 46 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Six rated the overall experience as “5/5 - Very Good" and one as “4/5 - Good". Comments were:

  • “The pupils benefited because it was fun, visual, exciting and very expressive. All the pupils thoroughly enjoyed it and showed this by joining in, laughing and generally having a good time. We thought some of the older pupils may have found the story too young for them but it definitely wasn't! They loved it! [In the longer term] we can tailor stories to our pupil’s abilities. [The Storyteller] was fantastic!”
  • “They all enjoyed the sensory element and interacted well. They were very interested. H was especially interested asking lots of questions. M reacted really well and did excellent talking "hey go away". E did brilliantly too and knew how to switch off the clippers - she wanted them back. I will try to include more similar everyday activity type stories into my planning. It was all great!”
  • “Very engaged with the different props. [I was surprised that] some children were more relaxed during the story and willing to investigate and listen [In the longer term this will help] have them more focussed on daily stories. Gave more ideas for staff.”
  • “A very good story that engaged the children. [I was surprised that there was] better exploring props with hands rather than mouth.”
  • “Each child was given time to interact with each part of the story and engage. [I was surprised that] all reacted well. One child vocalised excitedly throughout and touched all the storyboards. She showed a lot of interest. I would be keen to repeat sessions like this one to engage my sensory learners. I was very happy. The storyteller was friendly and used all the children’s names which was lovely.”
  • “Each student engaged well with the story. The storyteller allowed time for their responses and they showed their enjoyment by smiling and laughing. [I was surprised that] one of our quieter students danced to the pier music. I was so pleased to see her engaged. I think it encourages the students to try different touches sounds and movements etc. and to engage in the group activity.”
  • “Engaging, entertaining, fun. Encouraged vocalisation and communication. It really engaged two students who are difficult to engage. [In the longer term] staff can add elements to everyday practice.”

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