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Story telling

Hints and tips to make storytime engaging for all children, including children who have SEND.

General rules for positive story times

  • ensure that there are enough adults sitting with the children who need language support or help, have an adult near
  • remember to pre-warn the children that it is story time using a visual timetable, story sign or photo
  • make sure you have pre-read the story or know it well
  • children who may have a vision or hearing impairment should be sat in front of the reader
  • it is important that all the children can see the story teller's face, carpet spots or chairs may be used to help children to sit in appropriate spaces
  • speak slowly and enjoy the language, vary your tone and volume to add depth to the story
  • make eye contact with the children and lean towards them
  • pause at key points to encourage children to 'fill the gaps' to help you to complete the sentence
  • you may want to use a 'special' story teller's chair or give the story teller a 'special' cloak or hat to help set the scene
  • story time should be a quiet time - ensure other adults or groups are quiet and not causing distractions by moving equipment around.

Stories with children who have SEND

  • ensure your story is at the correct language and understanding level for all the children in the group. You can tell a story using the pictures and just one key word, for example the story of 'The Hungry caterpillar' can be told in just a few words, caterpillar, hungry, (name the foods) butterfly!
  • use interactive stories or story sacks, puppets and props to help the children follow the story
  • let the children get involved with actions or repeated words.

Books with no words

A book does not need words. You can make a story from small objects placed in zip-lock bags or from an umbrella of items relating to a story or theme. You could use a box of props to tell a story, without using a book.

Helpful hints for story telling.