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Storytelling In Your Area - Scotland: 2017 onwards

Since January 2017 we have organised the following multi-sensory storytelling sessions:

Clyde View School, Motherwell. 05/06/19

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 28 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from a teacher who judged that all of the children in their class had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. They rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and added, “Given that it is very hard to find a particular interactive story which would work for all the children, the story which [the Storyteller] chose was just about spot on. The children enjoyed participating in “The Fairground”. J interacted much better than I anticipated; he is a child who enjoys tactile materials and he thoroughly enjoyed it. [In the longer term] there are certainly four children who we would want to develop our own storytelling with using the tactile/props approach demonstrated. [The Storyteller] was excellent.”

Langlands School, Glasgow. 17/04/19

Our storyteller ran eight multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 35 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar one of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • [The children] enjoyed looking at and touching props and listening to sounds from them. Listening to story. [In the longer term this will help with] getting children sitting longer and engaging more with props.”
  • “[The session helped with] sensory needs - concentration - engagement - turn taking.”
  • “They children were all engaged in the story and participated by touch and smelling props. [I was surprised that] one in particular had lots of laughter and smiled all the way through.”
  • “The multi-sensory objects were essential for participants. [I was surprised that] one child, who had been very vocal all day, stilled when the fairground music was played. [In the longer term this will help with the] use of multi-sensory objects to stimulate a reaction.”

Drummond School, Inverness. 19/03/19

Our storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 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 four of the 31 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All seven rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The pupils showed interest and engagement in both stories. One indicated a dislike for the smell of Vanilla. They enjoy visitors and new things. All pupils interacted better than I expected. H smiled throughout and was disappointed the stories had finished. We will repeat this experience and make our own. The Storyteller was EXCELLENT.”
  • “[The pupils enjoyed] touching the props. The spraying of the water was a favourite. [I was surprised that] pupils did not push people or objects away. Sat for the whole session. [In the longer term this will help with] experiencing new sounds, sitting for stories not normally enjoyed.”
  • “It was simple. Directed at every child in turns. Using sensory prompts, humour, very personal. Gave attention to each and everyone. Sensitive approach. One of the pupils reacted in a more animated and unusual way. Gives teaching staff ideas of how to read stories to pupils in the future.”
  • “[The pupils were] actively involved and included on a 1:1 basis. The multisensory items were excellent - the pupils particularly like the sounds. One pupil in particular wanted to reach out and responded to sounds. Listened well to two stories. [In the longer term this will help] develop listening and waiting along with reasoning skills. The storyteller was excellent.”
  • “Different level of needs in this small group who benefited from the sensory experience. Having the books in the school after means we can re visit. [I was surprised that] one particular pupil was very attentive and not pulling out all the equipment. [In the longer term this will help with] feeling more engaged with stories.”
  • “Enjoyed sensory aspect. Repetition was effective. [I was surprised that] a non verbal child tried to verbalise. [In the longer term this will help with] more sensory ideas.”
  • “A very beneficial sensory based story session which met the needs of all pupils. One pupil interacted far better than I anticipated, verbalisation etc. [In the longer term this will help] encourage better engagement and communication.”

St Clement's School, Dingwall. 18/03/19

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 21 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Pupils’ attention was present throughout - quite rare with some of our pupils. The interaction was great. [I was surprised that] some older, more able students chose to come into the session at the last minute and were totally engaged. Some may go on to deliver the sensory stories to younger pupils. The more autistic pupils loved touching the parts of things. [In the longer term] it will help to be actually involved with the experience of stories. Able may use the stories for a model to create their own. Short periods of attention, really good to promote learning across the curriculum.”
  • “They interacted very well and listened intently. [I was surprised that] they were really engrossed. [In the longer term] they can learn how to tell a story as well as listening. It was so good.”
  • “Very sensory. Lovely storyteller and children reacted really well to her. I was definitely surprised by the reactions! [In the longer term this will] encourage them to look at books.”
  • “Children enjoyed the stories and the fact that they could interact with it. All interacted as expected. Everything was really well done.”
  • “Pupils were very hesitant to come in and initially one young lady asked for me to interact with props. The storyteller did this. She then began to join in and participated well. At one point she even started laughing. The other young lady relaxed too. It was a huge benefit for them to engage in a new environment with a stranger. Huge benefit as transition has started to leave school.”

Stanmore House Residential School, Lanark. 11/03/19

Our storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 12 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all 12 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “It was very interactive, clear and the pupils engaged very well. Good looking, good hand movements and concentration. [I was surprised that] hand movements were increased, and the pupils were quiet and very focused on the stories. [In the longer term this will help them] to engage with more stories and understand stories and meaning. Increase enjoyment.”
  • “Everyone included. Resources can be differentiated easily. [I was surprised that] one pupil was very focused throughout, giving great eye contact and even a smile. [In the longer term we will] continue using sensory stories.”
  • “All of the participants were fully engaged with the session. The storyteller maintained the energy and enthusiasm and the pupils enjoyed the entire session. One of the younger children engaged more readily than expected. It stimulated their responses to the story and gave them another "out of class" experience of literacy.”

Ochill Tower (Rudolf Steiner) School, Auchterarder. 04/03/19

Our storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 17 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from one teacher who judged that all of the children in their class had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. They rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and added, "All the children were included and their needs were taken into account. The story was fun and also educational. All of the children interacted better than we expected. The children were of all different ages and enjoyed the story. For some of the children it was the very first time that they have had a sensory story and it was visible that they really enjoyed it and were able to engage.”

Sanderson High School, Glasgow. 20/02/19

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 29 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. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “All pupils have ASD and usually find storytelling and language lessons difficult. All interacted and participated. [The Storyteller] was excellent at including all of them. [I was surprised that] they all participated. One pupil usually doesn’t come into class but she entered, stayed and participated fully. Other two participants interacted fully. [In the longer term] I will continue to do storytelling and sensory stories.”
  • “The storyteller was great telling the story and all participants found the story very funny. [I was surprised that] all participants interacted with the story and enjoyed using the sensory props. The stories were fun and enjoyable to listen to.”
  • “Each child loved the story. [I was surprised that] one child reacted very well to all the sensory things.”
  • “The students were engaged with the story and liked investigating the props. Some made comments about the props. They repeated some of the story comments. [I was surprised that] one of the students took great interest in the props. Also, another pupil was reluctant to be touched on his head but was happy to watch others. The pupils all enjoyed the interaction and using the props. More of the same activities would benefit them to get them talking. It was a good session - there was something for everyone.”
  • “Children were all very engaged with the resources. Very stimulating. [I was surprised that] one child reacted well to the bald wig and another was fascinated and more verbal than usual. [In the longer term this will help] improve language and social interaction.”

Mary Russell School, Paisley. 18/02/19

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 45 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 45 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children enjoyed the interactive aspect of the story as well as the repetition. [I was surprised that] everyone was enthusiastic. The children would benefit from this experience on a regular basis.”
  • “Children enjoyed taking turns joining in and looking at boards and equipment.”
  • “Loved the sensory experience and were completely engaged with it. Terrific experience for P1 ASN. [I was surprised that] J let the "sea urchin" come near him as he has a fear of squeezy toys, C was smiling, not anxious and J remained engaged for a longer period of time and loved the sensory aspect. [In the longer term this] will provide them with more sensory experiences. It was perfect. Absolute delight on children's faces. They were very excited.”
  • “The children enjoyed getting involved in the story. Touching, making the noise, smelling, kept their attention. It gave them a lot of confidence taking part in the story. [I was surprised that] the children all enjoyed the session. J didn't like the spiders and wouldn't touch them. J was so excited he kept shouting out, he got so much out of this session. [In the longer term we will] continue to enjoy story sessions and get the children involved as much as possible rather than just sitting listening to a story. The children all loved the two stories and I am sure they will be talking about them for the rest of the day.”
  • “The children were encouraged to use their imagination and they really enjoyed this experience. There were lots of sensory experiences which the children really enjoyed. [I was surprised that] all the children interacted really well and the session held their interest and focus all the way through. [In the longer term] I think the story telling sessions such as this will have a positive impact of the children's story telling interest and will hopefully encourage their interest in books and literacy.”
  • “[The session helped with] visual learning - more engaged. Some pupils came into the session angry but very quickly their mood changed positively. [I was surprised that] pupils who struggle with group work were more open to join in. [In the longer term this will help with] working in groups. More confident in a group setting. A really great session.”

Ogilvie School Campus, Livingston. 21/01/19

Our storyteller ran nine multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 67 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from eight teachers who judged that all bar three of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Children were engaged because it was so interactive. I liked the repetition. One child in particular seemed engaged and calm, understanding that he would get his turn [In the longer term this will help] promote anticipation and turn-taking. Improve listening and develop/increase vocabulary.”
  • “Children appeared engaged and interested. Children were showing anticipation for the next part and seemed enthusiastic. [I was surprised that] some children came over and participated in the story whereas they tend to be reluctant to participate. It was lovely to see children enjoy this learning experience and overall all children seemed to benefit from this. Was lovely/beneficial to see how the multi-sensory storytelling session works.”
  • “All children engaged so well. Especially M who we struggle to engage with at story time usually! M was very vocal and clearly excited to touch and press the buttons. [In the longer term] we will definitely use bag books in class with the aim of increasing engagement and interaction at group/story times. Loved it!”
  • “Hands on experience made story more personal "Becoming part of the story". [I was surprised that] one child was off her seat wanting to know what came next and her language used during the story was great as she kept asking "what's next". [In the longer term this will help with] language - what comes next, help with sequence. Anticipation and excitement - more hands on.”
  • “Love that the stories are hands on and engage students of different levels. Several children were very unsettled, but when it was their "turn" were engaged and excited. [In the longer term] students in my class struggle with sitting for story time - with the sensory/interactive parts to this, I think it will be much easier. Could encourage word development.”
  • “Fantastic resource. Lovely how each child was encouraged to interact. [I was surprised that] lots of children really enjoyed interacting with the boards. As we now have the boxes in school I think the pupils will really benefit. It was great!”
  • “[The Storyteller] was very engaging - calling the children by their name. Story was appropriate length for our children. Good use of sensory props. [The Storyteller’s] tone of voice was engaging and our children remained interested. We will incorporate this into our future planning.”
  • “They engaged with the story and were focused. They worked turn taking. They all interacted as expected [In the longer term this will help] as a tool to work listening and talking.”

James McFarlane School, Ardrossan. 20/11/18

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 five teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Lots of different senses benefitted our range of students, gave them all a chance to join in, clear and loud voice, appropriate humour, carried on regardless of the noise. More laughs and eye contact than expected from some students. [In the longer term this will help with] gathering together more often for storytime. Fun literacy.”
  • “They were using their senses to understand the story. Sight and smell being particularly well utilised. [I was surprised that] one child was overly delighted when he watched the lights turn on the Xmas tree. He also managed to hook the stockings on the "wall". We will plan activities using this skill in future! Great! [In the longer term] we do actively engage in sensory story sessions. We hope to incorporate 7 senses going forward. Movement is one we find in class that works well. Thank you for the Christmas inspiration. The story was very well read. The pupils had great response times and were actively engaged. Thank you. We thoroughly enjoyed this.”
  • “High engagement level from most of the pupils. Good communication skills and turn taking. One pupil found the space too cramped and left for a few minutes, however was able to return to session. [In the longer term] I believe multi-sensory story telling sessions will develop communication and anticipation.”
  • “The interaction from [the Storyteller] was fantastic. She made sure all the children were involved and had great enthusiasm. [I was surprised that] participants showed good interaction - facial expressions and gestures, laughter. The children enjoy sensory stories and it gives staff a better idea of how to perform.”
  • “[The Storyteller] took the time to engage with each pupil. She was patient and allowed them to explore each item at their own level. A variety of sensory stimulus were included. [I was surprised that] one pupil gave a lot of eye contact and stayed for the full session. It is a nice experience for our pupils to interact with another adult during a story session.”
  • “They were highly engaged during the story telling session. [I was surprised that] they all enjoyed the story. [In the longer term] a good range of stories will be beneficial for learning.”

St Andrew's School, Inverurie. 16/11/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 31 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “They enjoyed the multi-sensory approach, which helped them to maintain focus for a longer than usual time. [In the longer term this will help] develop their ability to focus for longer spells.”
  • “My class were really engaged today. [The storyteller] was very engaging and was sensitive to their varying needs (complex needs class). [I was surprised that] one pupil who has difficulty touching and holding items was able to be brave and try holding and touching many items. Another pupil was really visually engaged by the props. We use Bag Books generally on a weekly/more than weekly basis, so this will be a lovely story to add to the ones they are already familiar with. It was a really lovely session. Pupils were relaxed and felt comfortable with [the Storyteller].”
  • “1:1 multisensory experience. Differentiated for each pupil. Allowed processing time. Lots of repetition. [I was surprised that] A was quiet and focussed throughout; she anticipated each new prop and followed it with her eyes around the group. Tried to copy [the Storyteller's] use of props. R giggled at the xylophone. Great (as a teacher) to have the opportunity to observe the children interacting with a new story. We will extend use of Bag Books in class.”
  • “They engaged well and were smiling most of the time. [In the longer term] it might encourage them to look forward to a book bag story.”
  • “Love having a visitor, really positive interactions, love interactive element of story. [I was surprised that] a number of very active pupils were very calm and relaxed throughout. [In the longer term this] gives staff increased confidence in storytelling, pupils know full story so aren't anxious about what might come.”

The Anna Ritchie School, Peterhead. 15/11/18

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 33 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “They all loved the sensory involvement (interaction) of the story. They all interacted better than expected. All trying to hold and watch the toys. The pupils will benefit by meeting a new storyteller and a fresh approach to story telling. All went well. Well thought out. Bright and cheerful story teller.”
  • “Pupils maintained engagement with resources and were interested in resources. One little girl interacted really well with the resources, and explored some independently, taking turns fairly and waited when asked. Activity maintained her attention throughout. Sensory resources are an important aspect of educational interaction for pupils.”
  • “The story was told in a way that the children could participate on a 1:1 level. Not rushed and with a lot of lovely interaction. They all interacted well but one in particular was very interested. [In the longer term] it will definitely help our pupils on a sensory level. I think it was delivered just right - very on level with our pupils.”
  • “The multi-sensory approach ensured every pupil took an active part in the session - helped them think about the story and respond enthusiastically. [I was surprised that] it was appropriate for all. [In the longer term] it gave the teacher ideas for developing story times in class!”
  • “The class all sat very well and listened to [the Storyteller] as we were all in a quiet environment. We all benefitted from noises along with the story without getting over excited and all coped well. [I was surprised that] F sat very well, interacted well with the story telling especially as the teacher wasn’t able to sign. A sat well without interrupting. All interacted well, better than I expected. All learned to sit on floor very well, as usually on chairs. All took turns with interactive parts. Waiting very patiently for their turn. Everything was just fine and could not have been better. 10/10.”
  • “The children participated in each section of story touching objects, anticipating next step, engaging with the story teller. Generating sounds, developing senses, great joy gained form story. [I was surprised that] behaviour was excellent. All engaged and anticipating. It was thrilling for them. They were all brought in to the story! Wide variety of resources used to stimulate senses. It developed their listening skills, stimulated their senses, interacted individually with all children thus encouraging them to anticipating the next step.”

Carronhill School, Stonehaven. 14/11/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 31 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The pupils watched, listened and engaged - the sensory items encouraged them to remain seated and to join in. [I was surprised that] some pupils who would normally not sit for that long managed to enjoy the story! [In the longer term this will] definitely encourage listening skills and engagement in literacy activities.”
  • “They were totally immersed, especially in the second story as it was more real, shorter and less complicated. [I was surprised that] they all loved the water and anything with sounds. The stories are examples of how to interact/communicate with our pupils in a meaningful way. Excellent.”
  • “The stories were interactive and all children could participate irrespective of needs. [The Storyteller] was enthusiastic and engaged very well with all the children. [I was surprised that] the children with the most complex needs reacted extremely well and really enjoyed the stories. The children loved the water pistol and the knocking on the door. The session has given me some ideas to make stories more interactive.”
  • “[The session helped with] group time, sensory opportunities, engagement. [I was surprised that] the pupils were listening and participating in group time. The pupil engaged in the story. [In the longer term this will help with] engagement, turn taking, participation.”
  • “They were very attentive and enjoyed the sensory side of the stories. [I was surprised that] they were all engrossed with the stories. [In the longer term] it is something they would look forward to. They will be able to share the stories with parents when they get home.”
  • “It enabled some pupils who can be very insular to come out of themselves and participate in the story - role play and expressive arts. [I was surprised that] one boy in particular really engaged with the story and took part in more activities than he usually would. [In the longer term we will] use to encourage interactions, focus and relaxation.”

Linburn Academy, Glasgow. 25/09/18

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 21 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Full engagement with the stories. Every pupil participated at their own level. Humour especially effective. The Storyteller was very skilled at keeping the learners' attention. [I was surprised that] one pupil, who can be very shy, came right out of her shell and by the end was participating fully. Another, who can get embarrassed, was laughing and joining in much more than expected. Staff enjoyed seeing how someone who uses the stories all the time uses them. Will definitely impact on how we use the Bag Books ourselves. Great to have it modelled.”
  • “The pupils were all engaged in the story and all attempted to hold/touch the various items. Pupils were able to wait for their turn. Some pupils knew items from the story from their own experiences at the hairdresser. We regularly use Bag Books with our class so all the pupils were familiar with them. Some pupils connect more with some items than others. Items that make them laugh are always the best received and more likely to be interacted with. [In the longer term] the pupils have now seen another bag book and if I am to continue using this one my pupils will begin to know what it involves and when certain items appear. Knowledge and understanding will improve. The session was great! All pupils got time with the objects and all pupils were involved. Repetition of each line was also very helpful for the pupils.”
  • “A multi-sensory approach is helpful for our pupils to better understand and follow the story. [I was surprised that the] pupils interacted very well with the storyteller and also seemed interested in the props. Pupils were willing to explore, feel the props. [In the longer term] a multi-sensory story or session will help pupils in using their senses in better understanding their environment.”
  • “The children had a great time listening and interacting with all the props. [I was surprised that] all of the children interacted really well with the story props especially the spiders' web. [In the longer term] we will continue to use them in our school. It was good to see how someone else reads out the story.”
  • “Excellent story and engaging, pupils loved the sensory items. [I was surprised that] A stayed engaged the whole way through the story which is unusual. [In the longer term this] allowed staff to see how to tell stories so will be using them more regularly in class.”

Riverbrae Special School, Paisley. 21/06/18

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 26 children with learning disabilities. We received feedback from two teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Both rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “All of this group have severe physical difficulties and the storyteller knew how to manipulate their arms/hands, allowing them to explore the textures. She was very enthusiastic which my children responded very well to. Some of our children can opt out but the story really got them engaged. They thoroughly enjoyed this experience which is evident in their reaction. Tactile objects develop children's tolerance to different textures. It develops literacy skills and an awareness of turn taking. All sessions were great!”
  • “My group of children have very low concentration skill where it is difficult to get them to sit and co-operate. [I was surprised that] they all interacted at their own level, some sniffed the props or used the brush to sweep etc. [In the longer term this will help] to encourage staff to use more Bag Books or make up their own.”

White Gates Learning Centre, Lochgilphead. 18/06/18

Our storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 8 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder (the entire school). We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all 8 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “All pupils were engaged and enjoyed the storytelling and sensory aspect. [I was surprised that] one of the participants chose to finish, but actually stayed for the whole session. Excellent. [In the longer term] they may enjoy storytelling more.”
  • “They could imagine what the story was about, they remembered it, they laughed, they could feel it, see it and touch it. All in ONE. Great thing! They were focused, they did listen too. Something new for them. If we could put it on the weekly schedules it could bring some nice effects.”
  • “The pupils listened, reacted to the smells and textures, waited for the next part of the story and helped with turn taking. [I was surprised that] one participant became distressed at the realism of some of the items e.g. pretend sweets. The other child was happy to move to the next storyboard. A fantastic experience. Taught the individuals to wait, listen, turn taking, react and anticipate the next storyboard.”

Willowbank School, Kilmarnock. 25/04/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 34 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the 34 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Enjoyed wide range of sensory resources used in story (mix of sound, smell and touch). The class also enjoyed the animated story telling. [I was surprised that] one pupil remained seated and focused for length of story and touched each resource. [In the longer term this will help] encourage pupils to remain seated for the length of a story.”
  • “All pupils enjoyed the multi-sensory books. This encourages pupils to choose books and listen. [I was surprised that] all pupils were engaged and the storyteller ensured that all pupils were involved whilst taking account of their needs. [In the longer term] they might be more excited about exploring a wider variety or sensory materials.”
  • “[The session helped with] good eye contact, interaction, clapping and smiles. [I was surprised that] one boy, who can at times be quite surly and uncooperative, really liked [the Storyteller] and interacted well - with loads of smiles. Today's enjoyment will make pupils look forward to next session.”
  • “They absolutely loved the interaction throughout the story. [I was surprised that there was] lots of speech from one particular pupil and sound effects from another. [In the longer term] I am now confident in doing these in class. It was really good.”
  • “Lots of vocalisations, eye contact and smiles. [I was surprised that] the girl in the group was very engaged and touched a lot more than she normally would. [In the longer term this] fitted well with our class and they will look forward to the next session.”
  • “It was a very good sensory story, engaging the boys.”

Kaimes School, Edinburgh. 21/03/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 28 children with 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:

  • “All children could engage with the sensory activities. Children were able to show a range of emotions/feelings - including surprise. One child seemed more relaxed than I expected and was able to interact with the clippers/scissors which he has found upsetting before. Children benefitted from being part of the group, positive interaction with new people, and engaging in story.”
  • “They had great fun and enjoyed the interaction. All loved it. Much happier.”
  • “They were all engaged and were able to listen to the story. They interacted when directed to. They displayed emotions such as shock, surprise and pretending to scream in fear during the haunted house story. [I was surprised that] all pupils accepted and touched the sensory objects with no prompts. All sat well and interacted well. [In the longer term this will help with] accepting, waiting and turn taking in a group session with peers. It will develop imaginative skills and give teachers ideas for developing sensory stories in class.”
  • “They were all so engaged and totally relaxed. A joy to see. One learner was more confident that usual. [In the longer term] I will try and do this in class although it must be very time consuming to organise the resources. It was brilliant!”
  • “Pupils engaged in the sensory activities well. One child listened better than he usually does. Good to have new experiences.”

Oaklands School, Edinburgh. 14/03/18

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

  • “Lots of close interaction. Loud clear voice. [I was surprised that] two of the pupils were very alert and looking at the holographic pages, following it. One pupil was watching and following [the Storyteller] giving eye contact. It was really good the way it was presented.”
  • “Our pupils really enjoyed participating and listening to the story. Lots of anticipation, excitement. Lovely interaction between storyteller and pupils. Brilliant session. Thank you. [I was surprised that] all pupils really interacted well apart from one who was very sleepy. Lots of smiles, reaching out to prompts. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipating and participating.”
  • “Individual attention and good engagement with [the Storyteller]. The pace was also very good. [I was surprised that] one child's eyes were fully focused on the sea (blue sparkly paper). Another child began making noises and reaching out for the sweeties. [In the longer term this will help with] feeling that the children are valued and are given the chance for engagement 1:1. Excellent.”
  • “They enjoyed interacting with the very talented storyteller and loved playing with the props. An active boy was a bit unsettled when he arrived and finds new things difficult but settled more quickly than expected - also liked the numbering on the boards. [In the longer term this] gave the adults some ideas that could be used.”
  • “Interesting things to touch and hear. Group participation helps with listening and attention skills development. [I was surprised that] some of the more sensory pupils were very engaged and enjoyed banging the stick and opening the card. [In the longer term] the staff have been reminded of how to present a story and feel more confident doing them themselves.”

Mavisbank School, Airdire. 07/03/18

Our Storyteller ran multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 19 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder.

Parklands School, Helensburgh. 21/02/18

Our storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children (the entire school) with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all 21 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "All of the children sat and engaged fully with the story. If they hadn't enjoyed they would have left our story circle. One pupil who finds it difficult to sit so long - sat beautifully! Two who had their swim session delayed and who could have become upset because of the delay didn't. Because of their clear enjoyment the pupils will engage more readily with stories. The pupils also managed the change in their timetable very well and will therefore cope a little better with change."
  • "Being the older pupils the spelling/reading was excellent in "Winner". All the boys participated and especially enjoyed dropping the cans and banging the gong! One boy not keen on reading/literacy spelt out the word MILK - this could be adapted to include more shopping items to encourage reading. [In the longer term this] gave some ideas for future stories and also gave an excellent example of how to deliver the stories."
  • "Storyteller fantastic at engaging pupils. Another new face helped set the atmosphere for an exciting story. Good to remind me of how to present the bag book stories. We had great engagement from all including a pupil who hasn't been as engaged (hopefully reminding him that those stories are fun)."
  • "The story was familiar to some of the group but it was lovely to hear someone else read it. [I was surprised that] one of the pupils engaged well with the storyteller and reached out to explore the props. One of the participants is a reader but still enjoyed the "drama" of the session. It's beneficial for the pupils to work with unfamiliar people. It builds up confidence and communication skills. A lovely storyteller. Thanks."

Croftcroighn School, Glasgow. 07/02/18

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 45 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar five of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • "Any interaction is beneficial and the use of adapted communications with the talking tiles was something they were familiar with."
  • "Fun. Held attention. S was extremely vocal."
  • "Pupils listened well and displayed good waiting and turn taking skills. Engaged well with resources. One child sat for longer than usual and remained on task. I think it develops listening for enjoyment."
  • "Individually they were able to engage in their own way. [I was surprised that] they were giggling and looking at the boards when shown. Also touching resources. They have participated in a new experience."
  • "The Storyteller continued to interact with children when they were wandering about. Kids really benefited."
  • "They seemed engaged and most enjoyed the props to the story. Listening well. [I was surprised that] E seemed to enjoy the last props and reacted well to most of the story. Encouraged interaction and turn taking."

Ochil House, Stirling. 31/01/18

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 18 children (the whole school) with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar one of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "They enjoyed the interaction. The story was funny. All were alert and showed interest. [I was surprised that] the two most complex pupils showed enjoyment by smiles and interaction. [In the longer term this will] help concentration and focus."
  • "Multi-sensory story kept all pupils engaged and gave them a controlled experience of a real life situation. [I was surprised that] all pupils reacted and interacted very well. Today's session may take some anxiety away from pupils who are going for a haircut as it allowed them to hear noises of tools used and the kind of things that may happen when they are there. Children will also look forward to storytime as they enjoyed interacting."
  • "The children enjoyed being part of the story, it gave them some responsibility, fun and sensory. They were relaxed and calm. It allowed the children to experience real life situations. Our children sometimes may not pay attention, however all children did today and listened well. It encouraged children to talk and join in with the story. [In the longer term this] will help with their listening and communication skills, real life experiences, storytelling, imagination. Help them be responsible."
  • "Children were engaged for most of the stories. Stories were long enough. Both stories were very good and the children engaged with the stories."

Woodlands School, Edinburgh. 05/12/17

Our storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 19 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all 19 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Learners really enjoyed the stories and the props. [The Storyteller] was very friendly and made the sessions very accessible and exciting for the learners. It was perfect.”
  • “The repetition and participation enabled learners to engage with the stories. Learners thoroughly enjoyed the stories. Many thanks.”
  • “They loved the tactile nature of the narrative. And the humour. [I was surprised that] one learner who rarely follows instructions did as he was asked. [In the longer term] it will help them make sense of the world and structure their own powers of expression verbally.”

Kirkriggs School, Glasgow. 28/11/17

Our storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 17 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all bar one of the 17 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Children were fully engaged in a multi-sensory experience for 25 minutes which is a great achievement in itself. [I was surprised that] D settled after initial board and fully engaged. C and J thoroughly enjoyed the activity throughout. [In the longer term] it is great for us as staff to see as we can then re-enact. All great.”
  • “They fully engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the session. [I was surprised that] M was trying to repeat parts of the story. [In the longer term] it will engage them more with books and stories if they experience more sessions.”
  • “They all enjoyed that the story was interactive and they all got to take part. [I was surprised that] one of the boys was very excited and one of the girls was more reluctant in the second story - she thought spiders and ghosts were real. [In the longer term] I will be using the boxes we have in school in class. All very good.”

Hillside School, Cumnock. 21/11/17

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 15 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 15 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Both pupils responded very well to the multi-sensory experience. They were engaged and thoroughly enjoyed participating. [I was surprised with] L - the staff heard him laugh out loud today for the first time. Both children managed to sustain concentration for longer than usual. [In the longer term this will help] increase the level of engagement and length of concentration. Develop anticipation and recall/prediction during storytelling through repetition of the same story.”
  • “Very engaged - good listening overall! New face telling a story - interacted well! [I was surprised that] all children interacted well. They all love hands on items when telling a story. [In the longer term this will help] trying other bag books around the school. Well done and thank you.”
  • “Very interactive with our students. One student stopped rocking to feel the sensory objects. The other students were very focused too. All three participants reacted and interacted better than expected. One child was very engaged and surprised us when he enjoyed the song. It was good to model the way we should/could do these.”
  • “[The session helped with] listening and concentration skills. Enjoyment. Participation. Sensory experience. Lots of concentration and interaction. Lots of smiling and laughter. [In the longer term this will help with] improved interaction/social skills/turn taking. Improved concentration. Relating own experiences to story.”
  • “They showed a lot of enjoyment. Enjoyed the participation. The fact that [the Storyteller] read the story and did so in a different way from us made it more interesting. For those who had not experienced a bag book it was a great introduction and a base to move forward. Interaction in stories will improve.”

Hampden School, Glasgow. 08/11/17

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 32 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all bar six of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children interacted well with story boards. [I was surprised that] a child was laughing at creepy spiders and the ghost train. [In the longer term this will] help them understand and participate in the story. I think it was well prepared and storyteller adapted to our kids.”
  • “The children enjoyed the big cards with things for them to do. Most of the children reacted in some way which was unexpected - reaching out to touch unknown objects or smelling something. [In the longer term] the children will perhaps be more likely to reach out and try touching things.”
  • “Each of the four children interacted with the storyteller in an appropriate enthusiastic way. The children responded in different ways than I had seen in class when taking part in story time. [I was surprised that] A was very vocal and enthusiastically taking part - she is tactile defensive but was able to touch most of the materials. R was much more engaged and showed by smiling and reaching out to interact with materials - he is not usually so happy at storytime and doesn't always want to take part. C stilled, listened, responded and was more involved, attending and actively listening with the story props. J really loved taking part in the first story but lost his concentration for a bit after that. [In the longer term] it will benefit them as I feel I have taken part in a training session and I know how to deliver a Bag Book the best way so the children/participants will benefit from this as they will be able to interact with the props and take part in the story in a more engaging way for them - making the language come alive. It was a wonderful session. The Storyteller was super and really honed in on each of the children's abilities and differentiated each part of the story very well without having met these complex participants before - this is very impressive. Sometimes storytellers or session givers can be a bit intimidated. I know that we were given DVD and booklet but I, as a teacher, found it very useful to see how to deliver a Bag Books story (i.e. tips like having the boards in boxes and other story support) and how to say the storyline once to each child. I would like to thank Bag Books for this amazing session. I am using "Gran's visit" in class and will do it differently/better now I have seen it done by a pro.”
  • “The session started with six children and was reduced to three due to high arousal. The three remaining children participated well with the props and enjoyed the storytelling. All participating pupils responded as expected. [In the longer term] I think it would be beneficial if pupils became used to a familiar story and then became more aware of what was coming next.”

Pilrig Park School, Edinburgh. 20/06/17

Our storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 20 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "All young people were completely engaged in the story and so animated. They listened, they took their turn and they laughed! All young people exceeded my expectation of how they would interact. This was due to the way [the Storyteller] delivered the stories - superb storytelling. Extremely positive experience and young people will hopefully be motivated to look and read appropriate story books more often. I don't think the session could have gone any better."
  • "Presentation was excellent: no extraneous language; greeting each child individually was a good start; everyone getting a turn of everything was great; repetition of sentences around the group made the story very clear. [I was surprised with the] better concentration and eye contact from one pupil. Another who tends to hog attention listened very well; Two boys in our school for the first time were very relaxed in the group. [In the longer term this will] help to improve communication skills and lengthen concentration time. Could introduce new vocab or help children get used to new situation. It was brilliant!"
  • "I think they really enjoyed this because the delivery was excellent, interactive, lively and funny. It was a multi-sensory session with lots of feeling, touching and repetition - each child involved. Excellent for our pupils. [I was surprised that] all of the participants were involved, even two that were slightly reluctant to start with couldn't help but get involved. Done in a very sensitive way which encouraged all and made them feel special. [In the longer term] I think it will encourage them to get involved in texts and stories. It will encourage them to read, listen and act out stories. Excellent delivery."

Royal Blind School, Edinburgh. 13/06/17

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 16 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "One of the young people who does not attend many group activities participated today which we were very pleased with."
  • "Pupils took huge enjoyment in the story which was relevant to their experience and level. Pupils anticipated their turn to engage with sensory objects too. One young pupil who can find new/longer activities difficult managed to participate for the whole activity. We will use resources with our young people and recommend parent resources on website to parents."
  • "R enjoyed The Haircut story so much. B was very vocal. R was very happy. M was very happy and joined in. [In the longer term this will be] very good for communication and listening skills and great for turn taking."

Kilmaron School, Cupar. 07/06/17

Our storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 18 children (nearly the whole school) with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from one teacher who judged that all of the children in their class had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. They rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and added, "Our children are at very different story/listening stages and [the Storyteller] was amazing at changing voice etc to relate to every child. All got the same individual time. One of our children isn't always able to wait - take turns or listen well. This child did all this and took part until the end. Very happy class 2. We will be looking into more books."

Saltersgate School, Dalkeith. 06/06/17

Our storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 25 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from three teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "Everyone engaged, more alert, more vocal. [I was surprised that] one was laughing, more verbal pupils used their vocabulary. [In the longer term] we will possibly attempt more sensory stories."
  • "Good pace and individual attention. Pupils very engaged and interacting with sensory objects. Much better concentration and interaction that expected. Just tailed off at end but held it well until then. Finished at right time. [In the longer term this will help with] encouraging enjoyment of stories and improvement of concentration. [We would like] more of this on a regular basis."
  • "All the children were engaged and enjoyed having physical objects to touch during the session. The pupils all sat really well for the session which can be a challenge to sit for a 10 min period. One child in particular who has anxiety joined in and watched from a distance which was a big achievement for him. [In the longer term] we would like to make similar resources to continue this in class."

Redburn School and Nursery, Glasgow. 22/05/17

Our storyteller ran three multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 12 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from two teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Both rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. One added, "The children enjoyed the variety of stories and loved the interactive story pages. The adults also enjoyed them! Thank you. One pupil in particular was using lots of language and joining in with the story. He was also counting and laughing along. [In the longer term] they will recognise when it is time for a sensory story and be aware of sensory pages." The other commented, "Story was very good, lots of use of AAC. Most of the pupils interacted well, some more than usual. [In the longer term this will help with] listening skills, attention, participating."

James Reid School, Saltcoats. 19/05/17

Our storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 43 children with severe learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "[The session helped with] feeling good; following instructions; listening well to the stories; participation. 8 out of 9 interacted better than expected [In the longer term this will help them] progress their enjoyment of stories. Work to write their own stories."
  • "Pupils really enjoyed the session. They enjoyed the way the stories were told, the voices and props were great. Everyone relaxed and happy to join in. We can link this when reading. The pupils reacted really well. Some were repeating phrases from the story which showed they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. Props allowed interaction - fantastic! Pupils said they would like to make a story with props to tell the younger pupils. Using voices to read aloud will be of benefit."
  • "Every child listened to the story and touched/felt the accompanying sensory materials. [I was surprised that] an autistic child laughed when the sea urchin moved, he also wanted to play with the seagull. [In the longer term this will] help with communication - brought story to life."
  • "Today the children really engaged well. Listened and participated well. The children thoroughly enjoyed the story smelling the candy floss, being scared of the spiders. All the senses were in use through the story. All the children sat very well listening they all got excited being able to touch and feel the props. The spiders worked well. This allowed the children to see how to do a story with props and perhaps try something similar with themselves writing the story and finding props they could tell the story to their friends. We had the funfair story and I think it was terrific. It could not be better."

Westfield School, Fraserburgh. 02/05/17

Our storyteller ran four multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 31 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from four teachers who judged that all of the children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "Friendly, interactive, turn taking, enthusiasm, sensory. They all seemed to really enjoy it. Quite excited! I was particularly excited. L was interested the whole time."
  • "The story was obviously well known by the teller and was told smoothly, with lots of opportunity for hands on interaction. The pupils clearly enjoyed it and were all responding with enthusiasm. J was animated and really got involved. F was alert throughout, and watching with interest. Good for staff to see how to tell it properly!"
  • "[The pupils were] focused and interested due to both props and storytelling. All interacted well. [In the longer term this will help with] improved listening skills and improved attention span."

The Camphill Rudolf Steiner School, Aberdeen. 01/05

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