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Storytelling In Your Area - West Midlands: 2017 onwards

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

Old Hall School, Walsall. 26/06/18

Our Storyteller ran eight multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 49 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from eight teachers who judged that all 49 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Six rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “The children really enjoyed the range of sensory materials and objects of reference that were provided. They also really enjoyed the way [the Storyteller] interacted with them. [I was surprised that] all children looked and listened with interest. One particular child interacted who often will avoid group activities. [In the longer term this will help with] a growing interest in listening to stories. It was very good and beneficial for children.”
  • “The children benefited from using a range of sensory cues used to support the story. [I was surprised that] all interacted well – Y reached out independently several times to feel items. [In the longer term] the session has allowed them to continue to develop sensory awareness and early communication skills. Lovely resources - given me lots more story ideas.”
  • “Pupils’ engagement increased during the session, pupils were laughing and joined in well. Repeating words and phrases. [I was surprised that] four pupils reached out and repeated some statements. Behaviour of whole group improved throughout the session. [In the longer term this will help them] engage in more sensory storytelling. Turn-taking, sharing with others. We will include in lessons.”
  • “The children all seemed excited to explore the sensory items. [I was surprised that] O was really excited to shake the storyteller's hand. O also was eager to interact. [In the longer term this will help with] understanding senses, making sense of the wider world, group work, sitting skills, listening skills. It was really fun!”
  • “Something to awaken all senses, smell, touch etc. [I was surprised that] they enjoyed the story boards. Colourful and tactile. [In the longer term] staff can alter stories in school by making resources using ideas from multi-sensory stories seen during the session.”
  • “Use of different senses. Different fine motor skills used. [I was surprised that] all children sat for most part of story. Children were excited to feel the different objects. [In the longer term this will help] increase anticipation.”
  • “Excellent resources. [The Storyteller] allowed time for each child to explore the objects. Children were engaged throughout the session. All children reached out for each object. [I was surprised that] E lent forward and watched as he took each piece of the story around to each child. A reached out to touch different boards. C gave lots of giggles and claps. H did some good looking at each board and object. Staff watching can benefit from seeing how you can tell a story.”
  • “The storyteller was fantastic, delivering the stories in an enthusiastic way and with perfect pace. All children were really engaged with the great variety of multi-sensory resources. They clearly enjoyed both of the stories as they were really focused and smiling/vocalising throughout. Two of the children, who are particularly tactile defensive, responded wonderfully. They explored all of the resources without hesitation. Super responses. Our more tactile defensive children will be more likely to experiment/explore the resources in future sensory stories. Fantastic! Thank you :)”

Saxon Hill School, Lichfield. 25/06/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 36 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar one of the 36 children 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:

  • “All pupils were engaged from start to finish by interacting with looking, vocalising, touching. [In the longer term] it will develop their understanding of the world around them. It was fab! :)”
  • “The children were very focused and watching for what was coming next. Lots of smiling. [In the longer term this will help with] anticipation and turn taking.”
  • “Lots of different tactile resources to explore. All children were able to participate. Did not rush through the story and resources. [I was surprised that] one pupil really enjoyed exploring the compass and manged to spin it around without adult help. [In the longer term] the teacher will make sure she uses more cause and effect objects in her sensory story to help pupils have an understanding of the world around them.”
  • “All the children participated with great enthusiasm and verbalised throughout. [I was surprised that] all willingly interacted with the props. [In the longer term this] helped listening, interacting and communication skills. Very Good.”
  • “The students really engaged with the different objects. Touching, smelling, looking, reading - all the students’ senses. It reached all levels of children in our group. One of the pupils really struggled to activate the switch but she really tried hard. Several of the pupils were really looking around and listening to the storyteller. This session helped with individual achievements and goals. Very good with the pupils. Gave them plenty of time to explore the items.”
  • “Lots of different textures, sounds and movements. Good looking, turns towards sounds. Preferences for textures - touch and pull away. [In the longer term this will help with] experiencing different voices and stories. We have three bag books which we use with sensory classes. Also make our own sensory stories within sensory pathway.”

Rocklands School, Lichfield. 20/06/18

Our Storyteller ran eight multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 57 children with profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from eight teachers who judged that all 57 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Seven rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and one as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “We are a PMLD/sensory based class so this session was perfect! They engaged all the aspects of the session and the interaction was lovely. The storyteller was very comfortable with the children and picked up their names straight away. [I was surprised that] they all participated lovely, very proud! What Am I - we have the same book box in class and now I know how to tell it correctly hopefully getting a good reaction from the children giving them different experiences.”
  • “It was lovely to see all of the children listening to a story read by someone else. Expectations of the children were high and all were involved in various ways. They all absolutely loved the sensory story. All children were attentive and involved. It was fantastic!”
  • “Children who don't normally partake in activities became very animated, verbal and required no adult support. Two children who would never normally take part were very animated and smiled throughout. [In the longer term we will] set up some sensory stories for children to complete weekly in class.”
  • “All children were engaged, did good turn taking and followed instructions well. All children, even reluctant children, participated with all senses. [In the longer term this will help with] taking part in more regular sensory stories.”
  • “Our group are very sensory so the props and stories were perfect! [In the longer term this] will make me think about my storytelling.”
  • “All engaged and enjoyed the sensory elements of the story. Very interactive and pitched at the right level. [I was surprised that there was] lots of spontaneous speech! [In the longer term this will help] encouraged spontaneous speech and lots of engagement.”
  • “Pitched at a good level and chances for all abilities to join in in their own way. The children loved the resources! [I was surprised that there was] spontaneous speech! One child in particular had lots of questions! [In the longer term this] encouraged engagement and listening skills. Smaller groups means they all get a turn. Fabulous!”
  • “Hands on experience, smells/touching use of props to tell the story. [I was surprised that] some began to extend the story and add their own additions to the storytelling.”

Beaufort School, Birmingham. 11/06/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 61 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all 61 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “All engaged and couldn't wait to hear more! Sat beautifully and smiled throughout. Lovely stories. All children engaged and looked, felt, smelt all resources. Great storyteller who understood the children.”
  • “Simple story with simple language which helped the children to follow. Children patiently waited their turn. Multi-sensory approach is perfect. The storyteller supported all the children to take part. [I was surprised that] the children quickly learned how the story was told and patiently waited their turn (which they struggle with in class). [In the longer term this will help] support the comprehension skills for some. Support others to engage with stories.”
  • “The multi-sensory story props were engaging and supported the children's listening of the story. The pupils were all happy and remained focused throughout the session. The storyteller ensured all pupils were involved in the session. [I was surprised that] a visually impaired child made sounds and reacted to the smell of the candy floss as it was placed by her nose. [In the longer term this will help] staff to use the stories or adapt school resources to make multi-sensory books.”
  • “Accessible for all of the children. Each sensory object provoked a different sense (sight, touch, sound). Each child was given enough time to explore the different objects. One boy struggles to show emotions via facial expressions, however, when shown the fish he touched it and smiled. Most of the children are tactile defensive but all enjoyed exploring. [In the longer term this will help with] new ways to access stories. Develop concentration and focus time.”
  • “Children enjoyed the sensory element of the story and seem to engage well with the storyteller. Lots of repetition and waiting which some of the pupils found a little difficult. [I was surprised that they] responded well to the zoo story especially the fish scales. Some of the children responded to the funny sounds and laughed and one pupil imitated the sound. [In the longer term this will help] develop their attention skills and increase level of engagement.”
  • “They were able to access a range of stories in ways which were suitable for individuals e.g. audible, visual, tactile, smells. Lots of fun and laughter! One child was unsure of the tactile element and reluctant to touch, so moved away from the storyteller by pushing back in the chair. Some will talk about it afterwards and use the language they have heard.”
  • “Visual, tactile and auditory. Four were not interested in the objects but could press the noises. Something for everyone. [In the longer term this will] give them something concrete to attach the words of the story to.”

The Pines Special School, Birmingham. 15/05/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 44 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. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Hands on resources for all children to take turns. Lots of repetitive language and nice simple story. [I was surprised that] lots liked feeling the resources and engaged.”
  • “Objects of reference were really appropriate and engaging for all children. All children very engaged with storyteller. Sat for a long time, good for attention and engagement. Supports creative writing. [I was surprised that] they repeated phrases and wanted to role play activities. [In the longer term this will help] expand role play skills. Good for imagination and creative writing. Attention and engagement.”
  • “All children well engaged. Simple story suitable for extended class. Sensory props met needs of children and allowed all children to take part. [I was surprised that] most children remained engaged for full session - children normally find it difficult to sit for extended periods. [In the longer term] children will be able to remember stories/props used - remember experience.”
  • “[I was surprised that] M was interested throughout and K liked the music board. [In the longer term this will help with] interest in storytelling. Good use of repetitive language. Excellent resources and experience for our children.”
  • “Generally a very calm voice and as we were two children down and an extra student in this helped us to enable the children to participate too. One child really enjoyed the mirror and all liked the zoo as we are looking at animals. Really liked the elephant nose and the smells worked well. Our storytelling sessions in class quite multi-sensory at times due to the needs of the children and we have some book bags which we use.”

Blackfriars School, Newcastle-under-Lyme. 10/05/18

Our Storyteller ran four 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 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:

  • “The sensory element of the stories kept the group engaged and stimulated. [I was surprised that] the pupils sat still really well and waited their turn. We use sensory stories in class all year so nice to have a variation of themes and stories.”
  • “They were all engaged in all the stories. They learnt to take turns with props. They waited patiently for everyone to listen. [I was surprised that] they all recognised a song from their music lesson. One child stayed engaged throughout when they normally are tired at this time of day. [In the longer term this will help with] turn-taking, listening quietly and participation with each other about the stories.”
  • “All given individual attention, great for interaction with people from the community. All love multi-sensory.”

The Woodsetton School, Dudley. 09/05/18

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

  • “All the children engaged. With the story being interactive they all managed to get involved. They have practised sitting and listening to a story.”
  • “The children were exposed to different sensory experiences. [I was surprised that] two children with ASD remained focused on the stories throughout. [In the longer term they] will continue to be curious of stories.”
  • “They thoroughly enjoyed the story and waited in excited anticipation for the next prop. They all interacted well or as expected. [In the longer term this will] enhance their enjoyment of stories.”
  • “Once the children were comfortable they really enjoyed it and listened very well. Very visual for the children. All children interacted as expected. Their listening skills were excellent. [In the longer term] it's beneficial for their listening skills and enjoying stories.”
  • “I think they benefited from the sensory part of the story. They really enjoyed it. They all found the noises really funny and reacted as expected. [In the longer term] it will help with their listening skills and their attention when listening to the story.”
  • “Very calm, tactile, sensory. All participants interacted very well [In the longer term this will help with] interaction, turn taking, listening - are all beneficial for all pupils.”
  • “Children were very engaged in today's session. The story brought the story to life in the children's eyes. [I was surprised that] the children sat and listened to the story session - during a normal story being read in class they would have lost interest and got bored. [In the longer term] children will want to hear future stories being told whilst engaging their imagination.”

Baskerville School, Birmingham. 28/03/18

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 29 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from five teachers who judged that all 29 children 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:

  • “They enjoyed the physical interactions. They engaged well and there was lots of smiling and laughter. The storyteller was excellent with the students - appropriate sense of humour. [I was surprised that] S was laughing and anticipating his turn. They all took part. Sat beautifully [In the longer term we will] try to introduce more interactive stories. Helps to embed the story.”
  • “Really interactive/hands on/very sensory. [I was surprised that] all participants interacted really well. Sat nicely for the time allocated. Good at helping turn taking and waiting skills.”
  • “Interactive session that engaged all the young people well. We expected to struggle with the session but the young people sat attentive and engaged well. It will hopefully encourage our young people to engage with literacy in the future. Very fun session. Storyteller very supportive of our young people’s needs.”
  • “The story allowed the children to interact with the story through different senses. [I was surprised that] one learner reached out to engage with the page. Another learner who struggles to engage managed to engage with all the pages.”
  • “Intensive interaction, simple language, kinaesthetic resources - engaged students. [I was surprised that] it brought the stories to life! The students really enjoyed the session! Thank you :) The pupils LOVE stories and they have engaged really well in the session. They have been able to experience storytelling in a different way!”

Southall School, Telford. 27/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 36 children with severe learning disabilities. 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:

  • “[The session helped with] listening skills, respect, imagination. [I was surprised with the] behaviour of the class; they were fully engaged. Awesome session. [In the longer term this will help with] listening skills, story writing. [The Storyteller] was fabulous with our class!”
  • “All students responded well and were able to engage in and tolerate each stage of the story. I liked that it was repetitive and used key words linked to the experiences – more memorable for some students who find it difficult to recall and sequence parts of the story. One student found this very good to take part in, became very excited. Another felt comfortable enough to copy the action and retell the key words. All students were able to access. [In the longer term] I would like to incorporate this into our curriculum.”
  • “Good sensory experience. Storyboards reinforced the story through sensory exploitative interactions. [In the longer term this will help with] new perception and access to storytelling/reading.”
  • “Complex needs class really enjoyed it and looked like they had fun. They sat and joined in the whole story. I thought it was a good way to get children to sit and listen to a story and great for SEN kids with the props the storyteller used so they could get a feel of what the story was about.”
  • “[The session helped with] team building, listening, participating, taking turns, confidence, concentration. All have tendencies to not join in, but all did. Was amazing to see. [In the longer term this will help with] concentration levels and group/team bonding.”

Wilson Stuart School, Birmingham. 26/03/18

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 52 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all bar five of the 52 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and four as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “All learners were engaged with the story. Every leaner was encouraged to take part at each part of the story. One learner who is tactile defensive reached out to touch some items which was unexpected. Another learner who struggles to concentrate for longer than five minutes remained engaged throughout the session. All learners are able to access the story. Those with sensory impairments in the group e.g. one learner with a visual impairment was able to respond well to the resources provided. Able to introduce children to new concepts in a fun and engaging way.”
  • “Pupils were able to experience the real objects associated with the stories to gain a better understanding overall. It particularly benefited one pupil with V. I. as the story provided the tactile objects for him to explore. [In the longer term this will help with] providing opportunities to bring stories to life using props, tactile objects, smells through all the senses - touch, taste, smell, sight, hear/sound.”
  • “Students enjoyed resources used in stories. Enjoyed choosing stories as we could relate it to our students e.g. Haircut as student had had hair cut on weekend. Enjoyed listening to new stories. [I was surprised that] one student normally pulls hair repeatedly, listened to story and responded at time. Did not touch head once! Watched/listened to storyteller for full session. [In the longer term we will] introduce more sensory stories into our everyday lessons. Students leaving session very engaged and happy.”
  • “Each pupil had the chance to explore each prop with support. [I was surprised that] some of the pupils were really engaged with the props, laughing and smiling. If the story was repeated a few times a week the pupils may start to react to the props more independently.”
  • “Very interactive, sensory, slow and repetitive. Children really enjoyed and had lots of fun. [I was surprised that] they reached out and explored all of the stimuli. They laughed at the right moments (unexpected for some pupils). They were able to enjoy a story in a different environment with an unfamiliar adult (transferring skills).”
  • “All the resources were well presented to each child. Each child was given time to explore each resource and it was a good level for their concentration and understanding. [I was surprised that] in one case a child kept going back to touch an object when normally they don't want to touch new unfamiliar objects. All our children need consistency and lessons repeated several times before they show anticipation. These sessions would benefit them to show anticipation for different resources and what to do with each one.”
  • “It was fantastic for our learners to listen and explore new stories from a different speaker. Nice to have a man delivering the story with deeper tones for our learners to listen to. [I was surprised that] one child wouldn’t release every board presented. Another learner reached out while the previous learner was exploring the stimuli demonstrating great anticipation, investigation and persistence. The session introduced some new stories to us.”

Ridgeway Special School, Warwick. 05/03/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 47 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar four of the 47 children 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:

  • “[The Storyteller] was able to differentiate for the different needs/abilities of the pupils. For example good sensory props for PMLD; and the more able could interact with the story line. Storyteller knew the story well so no reading of the page. Storyteller took lead from pupils with regards to what they liked / didn't like and which props they wanted to explore. [I was surprised that] for PMLD they reacted well to props - story content wasn't too long. More able children interacted really well with story and props. Older children interacted very well and joined in through whole session - really enjoyed the session. [In the longer term] repetition of the same story will build anticipation. I have used Bag Books before but it was good to see "demonstration". I picked up some key aspects to make it successful - knowing the story well and repeating the relevant part for the prop to each child. I probably would be more likely to use in the future. Thanks.”
  • “For some of the children it is difficult to get them to sit and focus on tasks. They all sat and participated in the different textured sensory boards. [The Storyteller] was very patient with the children, with some not focused very well. [The Storyteller] added fun to it. [I was surprised that] one child had a tricky start to the morning but participated and was focused. [In the longer term] we could purchase these and give our children some focused sensory story time.”
  • “Very hands on. All children were able to access resources. Using all senses, touch, hearing, vision, smells. Just right time spent on each resource. Right length of time for whole story. Great, involved adults too. [I was surprised with] lots of smiles from PMLD children. [In the longer term we will be] having sensory stories more often.”
  • “A range of different sensory experiences for children and adaptable to meet different needs. Lots of reactions to props from all children of different abilities e.g. some reached out to props when they often don't and more able anticipated what would happen on their turn. A nice session to engage with. To move forward we need a regular session.”
  • “The session was great as it appealed to all the senses. The children loved exploring the resources for the tactile feedback, sounds and smells etc. All pupils had severe complex needs yet all showed elements of engagement and some lovely "awe and wonder" moments. [I was surprised that] L joined the group to experience the squeezy and squashy pig after previously clinging to the door. J had a big reaction to the smell of the skunk! A was using both hands to make the clip clop horse sounds and even stamping her feet excitedly to the same rhythm. We do have some Bag Books resources and do use them in Yellow Group, particularly for V.I. pupils. I think today is a reminder to use these stories more regularly and with a wider range of pupils. It was well presented and resourced, thank you.”
  • “Children enjoyed the tactile moments of the story. Children were engaged for the first story - looking for the next card. Children benefited from a visual matched with a word. [I was surprised that] J particularly looked for the next board and interacted and focused well. M watched intently. White group children watched well. [In the longer term] it would help children to enjoy books and stories in small groups/individual. Would help children to maintain focus.”

Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-Upon-Avon. 26/02/18

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 43 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 three of the 43 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Two rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”, three as “4/5 – Good” and one as “3/5 – Average”. Comments were:

  • “Children really engaged in the Haircut story. It's nice for them to experience different stories read and presented in different forms and by different adults. [I was surprised that] there was lots of eye contact. One child was interacting who only usually does with familiar adults. [In the longer term] we will read the Haircut story, which is something that they do struggle with. Would be good to have some social situation stories as leads well into PSHE and role play activities.”
  • “Children engaged the different textures, smells and sounds. It was lovely that some of props could be left with children to hold during the session. [I was surprised that] once engaged we had children who were counting with [the Storyteller] and making noises. [In the longer term] children enjoy sensory stories. Encouraged to sit/listen and respond to the story. Even those who find it difficult to sit for any length of time.”
  • “Some pupils were engaged throughout; others not so engaged. All enjoyed the different objects that were used in the story. [In the longer term] multisensory stories are great and will be used in the classroom.”
  • “Good repetition - we were quite a big group - PMLD and SLD. Response to sounds from all students. Good response to feeling and touching. On all story boards the Storyteller took time with each pupil. [I was surprised that] all reacted well to smells, sound and touch. The Storyteller warmed to the group as the session went along.”
  • “Because the students have an interest in animals they enjoyed the story and enjoyed playing with the props. [I was surprised that] I engaged well and really enjoyed the props and sound effects. [In the longer term this will help them be] more at ease in a group session.”
  • “Lots of lovely interaction between [the Storyteller] and the pupils. One child who slept was roused by the dark cloth (Fairground). [I was surprised that] one student was calmer and looked more intently at the magazine. Some new stories that we haven't heard before. Most were calm and focused during the session. The story pages have all been well loved and used.”

Green Park School, Bilston. 15/02/18

Our Storyteller ran multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 39 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder.

Castle Wood Special School, Coventry. 01/02/18

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

  • "Very interactive. Good storytelling. Kept them engaged, learnt names quickly. Pace of the session worked well for our group. One child was nervous but the Storyteller noticed and allowed him to touch if he wanted to. [In the longer term this will help with] turn-taking, exploring new things and listening. Good eye contact and showed humour. A lovely experience."
  • "Lots of sensory - fast pace. One child reached out to touch when doesn't normally interact. All stayed engaged [In the longer term this will help with] sitting, attention for sustained period of time."
  • "One child loves touch, visual and dressing up so she paid attention for 20mins – amazing, the other child used different language and made a choice of story. Loved the interactive nature of the boards. [I was surprised that they were] listening, watching the other's interaction and interacting themselves with an unfamiliar adult. [In the longer term this will help with] increase attention, curiosity and patience. Exploring different senses to keep engaged. It worked great for the children in the small group - less waiting. Thank you so much."
  • "The children sat and listened. They were interested and engaged. The children enjoyed being actively involved in the story. The children really enjoyed the session! The Storyteller really involved the children. Sensory aspect was good. One child in particular sat, listened and took turns, which is something he usually struggles with. All the children were engaged! [In the longer term this will help with] listening skills, communication, turn-taking, following instructions. The session was brilliant, thank you! The Storyteller was great!"
  • "[The session helped the pupils] to listen to story from beginning to end, to listen in small groups, to actively engage if needed to do so and to participate in role play. [I was surprised that] one child sat in a calm state and listened to the story and engaged with the props, also commenting on the story at times. [In the longer term this will help them] to listen and engage in storytime and activities."
  • "Very interactive/smiling/ anticipated/children. Touching board with interest. Children know what to expect next repetition. This is good for children with PMLD. [I was surprised that the children were] vocalising and laughing. The Storyteller was patient and waited for the pictures. Good pace. He praised children too. Made it fun. [In the longer term this will help] in many ways: interest in stories, language and communication, anticipation, sequence, sustaining attention and fun."
  • "They are stories with things to use for their senses. Some of our children have vision and hearing problems and this helped them to feel involved by touching and smelling. The children all enjoyed the Bag Books. They each took turns to touch and feel the props. They were focused and they were engaged for all of the session. It will benefit them a lot."

Broadmeadow Special School, Wolverhampton. 05/12/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 47 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar four of the 47 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Pupils benefit from a sensory approach to learning. [In the longer term this will help as] a new experience – building on progress already made. Opportunity to transfer skills.”
  • “It was a different environment and a new book (all children sat really well). [I was surprised that] they really took interest of the story and its interactive contents. The children were at a different part of the school (not a typical part of their routine) but they all coped really well. As it was a new book/story it really helped that the story items were switch based, a learning objective of most of our children – to activate buttons/switches. [In the longer term this] helps aid a child's concentration skills and also turn taking for future activities. It was a wonderful session.”
  • “Resources are excellent and engaging. Each sensory element was different and appealing. Encourages children to participate in group sessions. 1:1 element encourages eye contact and focus. [I was surprised with the] interaction with an unfamiliar adult. Tolerance of support when engaging with new activities. [In the longer term this will help with] consideration of more sensory elements in class stories.”
  • “All engaged with the materials, happy to wait and take turns with peers. Shared enjoyment was evident throughout. It was wonderful to see children eagerly anticipating (tinsel in particular). My class are used to experiencing stories in this way, we will use this activity to develop recall skills later in the day. This was a superb session – thank you so much.”
  • “Enjoyed different textures, smells etc. [I was surprised with the] turn taking and using items functionally [In the longer term this will help] children to re-enact.”
  • “All children were encouraged to wait and take turns. A multi-sensory approach meant all children could be involved. One child in particular seemed very engaged and even said 'Merry Christmas' at the end of the story – we have never heard him say this before! If we had the story at school children could retell it or sequence events after lots of repetition.”

Fort Royal Primary School, Worcester. 04/12/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 41 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar two of the 41 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “[The session helped with] interacting with an unknown adult. Engaging with an adult, happy, smiling, laughing, turn-taking. [I was surprised that] a child waited in anticipation for their turn, focussing on adult and other peers, waiting, turn-taking. Some children struggle in group activities but story time today has shown how the children engaged the whole experience of sensory story with unknown adult and peers. It was fab!! :)”
  • “[The session helped with] being social with other peers, not necessary within their usual class. Lovely to see pupils engaged and showing enjoyment. [I was surprised that] children participate and show engagement towards peers and their involvement. Eye contact showing full enjoyment of the story. [In the longer term this will help with] good engagement for them with their peers. Lovely to have an area to read and interact with others. Being with all children within the class, key stage not just within their usual class. Thought it was brilliant, great to have this opportunity for our pupils.”
  • “The storyteller included all the children and was very involved. Only one child didn't benefit but they weren’t well. All other children very focused. [In the longer term this will help with] being able to sit. Being included in sessions as very tactile.”
  • “Total sensory experience, including smell, sight, sound. Inclusive of numeracy/literacy learning link e.g. counting. [I was surprised that] children were watching/listening and anticipating what they needed to do when it was their turn. Children asking for more. [In the longer term this will help with] communication. Social aspect of sharing story.“
  • “Objects/pictures were good at keeping them engaged with the story. They enjoyed feeling the different textures. [I was surprised that] B really enjoyed the noisy props [In the longer term this] helps them to enjoy stories through a sensory medium and be more focused.”
  • “The multi-sensory books helped to bring the story to life and helped the participants to visualise each scene. Covered all senses. Some participants seemed reluctant but as the session progressed all participants enjoyed. [In the longer term this will] help to visualise all stories in the future. Increase senses awareness.”

Rigby Hall Day Special School, Bromsgrove. 29/11/17

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 33 children with severe learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that 33 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and two as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:
  • “The children love anything tactile and sensory to support their learning. [I was surprised that] they all sat and were engaged for a long time for their age and needs. We already have two Bag Books in school and we hope to buy more with the next budget round. The Storyteller included all of the children even if one would not sit.”
  • “They all enjoyed the multi-sensory - interactive storytelling. Some children joined in with the multi-sensory activity more than expected. [In the longer term] it will help the children to think about the different senses - smell, touch etc.”
  • “They enjoyed taking part in the story. It was good for practising turn-taking skills and waiting their turn. [I was surprised that] all children were engaged and took part. They all sat and listened. [In the longer term] if you continued a story for several sessions children would get familiar with the story and be able to take part/remember it. They could even lead some sections.”
  • “All of the pupils participated and touched the board. They didn't sit still to listen but one child who wasn't looking did repeat some of the phrases. Reactions were as expected except the one who repeated phrases - possibly better than expected. It was difficult as they are used to using the "bat cave" in a different way. We do a sensory story once per week - it does encourage interaction and participation- especially for children in the lower P level range. They liked the lights. It was good how the pupils were able to move around and touch things.”
  • “[The session helped through] being able to participate and contribute to the story and enjoying the sensory element of each part. [I was surprised that] O reaching out to touch items and was focused when it was his turn. [In the longer term this will help] get more enjoyment out of stories.”
  • “They really enjoyed this session. Helped with their looking/listening and waiting their turn. They engaged the different music and different materials. [I was surprised that] they stayed focused, listened really well and interacted when it was their turn. It was really good.”
  • “They were all able to listen and experience the storyteller who was very charismatic and engaging with the children. A collection of these books to store school would benefit the pupils.”

Cherry Oak School, Birmingham. 20/11/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 43 children with severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all bar three of the 43 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Three rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “Lots of verbalisation and using vocals. Different/new adult. [I was surprised that] S associated a word. For the teacher it was good to see it delivered and the other staff enjoyed it. [The Storyteller] responded to staff directions and suggestions and the children's needs as the session progressed.”
  • “The visual props were very good and kept the children engaged enjoying. Visual, tactile, smell and auditory sensory objects. [I was surprised that] S, M and R were very stimulated and S made lots of happy noises and smiled lots. M enjoyed touching and feeling the sensory story boards and objects. [In the longer term this will help with] promoting engagement and interested exploring with lots of senses and practising turn-taking, listening skills and joining in.”
  • “Positive reactions to an unfamiliar adult. Opportunity to experience stories through sensory exploration of props. Opportunity to transfer skills learnt in class to a new context. A had an incredibly positive reaction to the boards and materials he was offered. He often struggles to accept and reach out to new textures but confidently enjoyed touching buttons, hiding under material and touching the different boards. [In the longer term] it gave me the chance to see how they can use their skills in new ways, which is challenging for them, so any opportunity to do this is welcomed and beneficial for the progress and development of the class.”
  • “The children were all "sensory seekers" and enjoyed exploring the resources. [In the longer term this will help] meet their sensory needs.”
  • “Inclusive to all. Stimulating resources. Cross curriculum links - e.g. counting - maths, smell - science. Lots of assessment opportunities. [I was surprised that] when the doors to the ride opened the children all reacted to the visual and sound cue. [In the longer term this] provided them with a new experience. Activated their senses. Has made storytelling exciting!”
  • “Every child was able to join in and have a go. Enjoying every individual page. [I was surprised that] one child would walk off when it wasn't her turn; but when it was her turn she would participate. [In the longer term this will help with] communication, language, social turn-taking, textures, smelling.”

Pens Meadow School, Dudley. 09/11/17

Our Storyteller ran five 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 bar five of the 39 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All five rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • “Some children used their imagination. The book about animals was interesting for the children. Particular children spoke of the animals by their own experience. [I was surprised that] L danced to the music and H copied his model [In the longer term this] helped develop their imagination and interaction skills.”
  • “The first story was very good. Starting from the high to the low ability. One student noticed that the coca cola bottle had water instead of coke.”
  • “They enjoyed the multi- sensory aspect and were engaged. [I was surprised that] one or two of the children reacted to the sound aspects very well.”
  • “Pupils voiced their own opinions when asked. Pupils were animated and vocal. Sat well and focused [In the longer term this will give] another aspect to storytelling. Different new resources. Anticipation and sequencing. Varied choice.”
  • “A different experience with a new adult. The sensory element was pitched perfectly for rainbow class pupils. [I was surprised that] all pupils attended for two stories (30 minute session). Pupils were calm, all were involved and able to interact with physical support – touching different textures. A good experience for pupils – taking part in a whole class sensory story at the end of the day – we will carry this idea forward.”

Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-Upon-Avon. 11/07/17

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 44 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 children in their classes had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. Four rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good” and three as “4/5 – Good”. Comments were:

  • “All the pupils (PMLD Secondary) engaged at some point. Good use of a range of sensory resources for example - auditory, visual. One pupil who is tactile defensive engaged better than expected [In the longer term] the seaside story linked to our seashore topic. Age appropriate for the pupils. Daily sensory stories important for pupils with PMLD to engage and develop skills.”
  • “S quickly joined in and enjoyed the experience - it usually takes her a while to participate in anything new. Out of group of five - two pupils really engaged, one transient engagement. [I was surprised that] B focused on some of the tactile elements of the story, S very excited. We have developed some sensory story boxes to use in class and it was good to have this experience to support the development of our ideas. The pupils enjoyed the story and I think the repetition of a familiar story allows anticipation and then excitement. We have a selection of very old book bags - very tired now. I have used them in the past but it was good to have a fresh story presented to the children.”
  • “Interactive. Props - sensory objects to touch. [In the longer term this will help] to benefit their communication social skills.”
  • “[The session helped with] turn taking. Engaged in a story. [I was surprised that] L talked about the Queen living in Buckingham Palace. [In the longer term this will help with] ideas for staff to use with the children.”
  • “[The session helped with] humour, social interaction and good for communication. [I was surprised that] a couple clapped, sang and most joined in with the activities. If it was repeated they would anticipate parts of the story.”
  • “Lots of good anticipation, very multisensory and a few surprises. [I was surprised that] some pupils showed anticipation e.g. "flinching" at the water spray. [In the longer term this will help with] building up awareness of sequence and using the senses.”
  • “A different experience - shared storytelling. One pupil engaged better than I thought he would.”

Merstone School, Birmingham. 22/05/17

Our Storyteller ran six multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 47 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities. We received feedback from six teachers who judged that all 47 children 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:

  • "Pupils got to hear and feel various parts of the story. Sensory objects engaged and interested the pupils. [I was surprised when] one pupil said "get wet - splash" when he saw the sea page in the story. The various sensory objects engaged all ability levels. [In the longer term this will help] improve language about the seaside and improve interest in a story."
  • "Children engaged and explored sensory objects. The children engaged well - at usual level. [In the longer term this] will continue to encourage the children to be open to new experiences."
  • "All children could experience of touching resources. Listening to sounds from resources. Children showed enjoyment by laughing. Lots of turn taking and waiting. Given time by [the Storyteller] to react and respond. Developing turn taking skills. [I was surprised with the reaction to] repeating sounds. Some children who find it difficult to sit/wait engaged in more touching and waiting by making gestures and prompts. Singing and dancing :) [In the longer term this will help with] repeating stories to see if they continue having different responses. Turn taking skills developed."
  • "Our pupils loved hearing the story from a less familiar member of staff. Pupils really enjoyed the experience. Lots of laughter. They engaged with the storyteller often anticipating the next object, full of interaction and laughter. One of our pupils who finds it's hard to engage loved the pig from the zoo story. All from Class 5 interacted very well and enjoyed session very much. [In the longer term] they will look forward to story time. They will be able to take part in sensory experience. It’s a topic they can all engage in and look forward to. Encourage plenty of interactions. Lovely friendly Storyteller. Lovely all round activity."
  • "All of the participants took part and interacted with the story exploring the props. All of the participants reacted well. Sitting in a group and anticipating the next page. Very calm and relaxed all of them. One participant is registered blind but found the story amusing, smiling and chatting away in his own way throughout. It helps to teach the participants to be patient and learn to take turns. Show concentration skills."
  • "Pupils really engaged with the story. Pupils across key stage 2 middle literacy group love this! They all waited patiently for the next sensory prop and listened well. More able pupils enjoyed the story but wanted to read the story on the back of the cards! M absolutely loved the stories! Brilliant for all children. D loved all sensory objects, didn't pay much attention to sound related objects due to hearing impairment but loved touching/feely objects. C thought about smelling the vinegar, which he would never normally even consider. D remained seated for both stories! So did M! It has given me some ideas to make sensory stories and what the children enjoyed. The stories were simple yet effective and not too overpowering and confusing."

Severndale Academy, Shrewsbury. 15/05/17

Our Storyteller ran seven multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 38 children with severe or profound & multiple learning disabilities and/or severe autism spectrum disorder. We received feedback from seven teachers who judged that all 38 children had benefited from the multi-sensory storytelling. All seven rated the overall experience as “5/5 – Very Good”. Comments were:

  • "Very sensory based and hands on which really benefits my class. Thank you! One pupil was much more engaged than I expected. [In the longer term this will help with] keeping the engaged for the whole story – it's a big task in our class! It was really good. Thank you :)"
  • "They really enjoyed the sensory aspects of the story which kept them engaged. M really enjoyed the water spray – she quite often doesn't engage in storytelling [In the longer term this will] help them engage more in their surroundings."
  • "The storytelling was set to a level relevant for our complex students. Lots of props and sensory items. Good short simple speech phrases. All students given 1:1 time. One student, who often struggles to remain focused managed to participate for the whole session. She remained engaged and eager to participate. [In the longer term this] gives us ideas to use in class. It certainly has given us an insight in how to keep students engaged. It was fabulous!"
  • "All students enjoyed exploring and experiencing both of the stories that were told. Students were given the opportunity to explore. “He's a Winner” was very appropriate for our age group. They interacted well with the storyteller and resources. [In the longer term this will] also benefit staff for new ideas when telling stories and planning lessons."
  • "All engaged well with storyteller and sensory props. Engaged well with a different person telling a story. All remained engaged when not their turn. [In the longer term this will help with] lots of new ideas for sensory stories. Use of Bag Books in school now we have more. It was really good experience. Thank you all so much."
  • "Opportunity to explore sensory objects with a range of touch, smell and movement. [I was surprised that] all were looking at the objects. [In the longer term this will help with] more opportunities to provide a range of sensory stories."
  • "All pupils enjoyed the props and sound effects. Pupils engaged and focused. [I was surprised that] all pupils liked interacting with the props. [In the longer term this will] encourage communication, listening skills and participation."

Queen's Croft High School, Lichfield. 26/04/17

Our Storyteller ran five multi-sensory storytelling sessions involving a total of 21 children with severe learning disabilities. 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 sensory experience and opportunity for participation. [I was surprised that] there was lots of smiling."
  • "All pupils maintained attention and focus for the full session. This is something they find difficult. [I was surprised that] they all fully interacted with the objects. One pupil with ASD particularly struggles with new situations but she really enjoyed the session. [In the longer term this will help with] encouraging concentration and listening skills."
  • "Sensory and interactive. All children had a go using the props and enjoy
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