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Rhyming Multisensory Stories
Subjects Taught
Literacy (SEN) Speech & Language Interventions
Grade Levels
3-19 SEN
Education is a two-way thing! It is not just the skills and knowledge we teach our young people that are important but the lessons we can learn from our students too! I was working in Spain teaching English as an additional language to Spanish and Moroccan students, running a chilli farm and working as a freelance writer. The travellers arrived at the local campsite and asked if I would teach the children to read. The next day, twelve children arrived on my doorstep ranging from sticky-faced 4-year-olds to 14-year-olds skidding in on their quad bikes! I ploughed straight into teaching phonics and the children became restless very quickly and with boredom comes mischief. I needed to get to know these children before we could progress any further, so I took them into the fruit fields. We picked oranges, lemons, pomegranates, and figs. We used our senses to help put into words how these fruits looked, felt, tasted, and smelt. We made bark rubbings of knotted old olive and almond trees and listened to the sounds of nature. The children opened and told me about themselves, and I decided to teach them things that would be useful to their transient lives, basic words and phrases in Spanish, reading simple menus and signs then we progressed to money skills, geography and map reading. I became good friends with the travellers and would teach their children when they passed through town. Years later one of the children drew me a picture of his caravan. It was a beautiful chalk drawing, but the caravan had no wheels, so I handed the drawing back for the young boy to finish posing the question ‘how are you going to move your caravan?’ He screwed his face up deep in concentration, picked up a stumpy crayon and drew on a tow bar. It was this moment that inspired me to return to college in the UK to gain the qualifications to work in education. I spent 10 very happy years working at a special school in Cheshire. I taught literacy interventions to students with ASD, Sensory Processing and Complex Needs (aged 3-19) and started writing multisensory stories to connect these students to literature, culture and topic in a way that was meaningful to their lives and would teach them skills. In March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit I built my website www.rhymingmultisensorystories.com as a free resource to help parents, carers and educators during the during the school closures. Multisensory stories immerse the student by telling a story using words and sensory stimuli (story props). The props are all low budget items found around the home and classroom. Exposure to sensory stimuli, (story props), engages the learner with new experiences to calm and alert their sensory system in a safe, therapeutic and fun environment helping them to understand the world around them. Listening to rhyme and rhythm supports memory and aids learning playing a crucial role in language development, the learning of concepts, communication and early literacy skills such as listening and attention skills, anticipation, turn-taking and making choices. My stories are adapted to meet a range of abilities and needs from curious preschoolers to teenagers with complex needs. They are also suitable for use in mainstream schools with Reception/Foundation/Preparatory/EYFS/Pre-K/Primary/Junior Infants children, as the combination of sensory stimuli, rhyme and the repetitive structure of the stories forms an excellent base on which to scaffold learning. My website www.rhymingmultisensorystories.com is a free resource full of ideas and sensory inspiration. You will also find a library of FREE multisensory stories & poems to download. The website is full of sensory ideas and inspiration. I'd love to connect! Your questions, queries, comments and feedback are always welcome!

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