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About Sensory Storytelling

Sensory Storytelling brings the magic of an author visit and the many benefits of books and sensory storytelling to pupils in Scotland’s special schools.

A child reading a picture book with a woman

Children with complex additional needs can struggle to engage with the world around them. Multi-sensory storytelling is one way of empowering children to express their thoughts and ideas, help teachers create a calm, relaxed atmosphere and ensure a positive, enriched and creative school experience.

Inclusive Stories Festival

In 2021, we hosted our first Inclusive Stories Festival. The festival featured a series of fully funded digital events with a range of authors, illustrators and storytellers to inspire a love of reading and stories for all.

The festival was open to schools and families, with a variety of live and pre-recorded events. All the festival events were linked by the theme of inclusion, with some events being designed especially for young people with additional support needs.

We also created a range of resources and book lists as part of the festival which are still available!

School residencies

In 2020, two school residencies began. Storyteller Ailie Finlay works with Corseford School in Johnstone, and illustrator Kate Leiper works with Fairview School in Perth.

'It is a real bonus for our pupils to have an external visitor come in to do something that so captures our children’s attention and imagination and that children of very different abilities could enjoy and in their own way participate in. The art of oral storytelling, I feel, is magical.' – Caroline Ball, Deputy Head, Portfield School

Development of tactile book

To help children on their reading journey, Scottish Book Trust is delighted to gift Getting Ready to every child aged 5-12 in a special school or special needs setting in Scotland in 2021.

Getting Ready is a fantastic resource for schools and families. Developed by Child’s Play in consultation with children, families and organisations working with blind and partially sighted children, it contains high-contrast images, tactile features and Braille-style numbering. It is suitable for children with a variety of additional support needs, and is the perfect book to support exploring and establishing routines.

We've created a resource with tips and advice for sharing Getting Ready.

(this will open in a new window)Tactile book gifting guidance

We also provide free tactile books for children with additional support needs(this will open in a new window) through our Bookbug Programme.

Multi-sensory learning resources

We have created several multi-sensory learning resources through this project:

The Mohn Westlake Foundation

Sensory Storytelling is funded by The Mohn Westlake Foundation