As a freelance tutor I often work with young children, I also teach early years students and both of these roles are an opportunity for me to share my passion of story sacks.
According to the National Literacy Trust ‘A story sack is a large cloth bag containing a favourite children’s book with supporting materials to stimulate language activities and make reading a memorable and enjoyable experience’.
Many years ago I was a Lovass tutor working with young children on the autistic spectrum, I then worked for the local authority with families and teachers to support children on the spectrum. I developed a system where I would take a selection of learning resources (toys) and work with the children to teach them the social skills they needed to interact with other children.
Story sacks are a great way to teach children a number of skills, languages, reading and writing, mathematics and problem solving skills, emotions and relationships. The stories are often repetitive and this makes the words easier to learn. The text can be supported by pictures and props which provide visual contexts and support and encourage children to use story language. Some of the resources I use are soft toys like a fluffy duck for ‘5 little ducks went swimming one day’, children get the opportunity to draw a pond and take turns being holding mummy duck and shouting QUACK QUACK!.
The story sacks are a flexible and fun way of helping children acquire language skills and great building blocks for their future learning. Sharing stories can benefit children when they start school by helping them learn the rhythm of language which helps when they are learning to read. I often duplicate the words from the book into flash cards and the children enjoy putting them in order and ‘reading the story’ themselves.
The ‘mood’ of the story can be used to introduce the language of emotions and characters, whilst developing concentration, anticipation and listening skills. I have recently made a story sack for the book called ‘Super duck’ by Jez Alborough, I found a white duck, a frog, a sheep and a goat, I made kites with the children, and we learnt about size, height, weight and many other skills. one of the children even recalled the family car getting new wheels during the story.
Using story sacks also develops children’s narrative skills and offers increasing opportunities to build on social interaction with the expression of feelings, ideas and comments. Some stories include physical interaction, which adds to the fun and surprise and gives many opportunities for children to act out the stories with you. Through stories children can learn turn-taking and joining in, essential skills for communication development.
children love to be involved in the story or rhyme you are telling, I love ‘5 current buns’ it gives children the opportunity to take turns and take part in role play, for this I got some toy money and got children to draw some cakes. I can’t wait to make some buns too, getting the children to measure, weigh and enjoy the chemical changes that occur during cooking. There are lots of opportunities to make up different versions of the story or use props and puppets which will help the stories to come alive.
My list of home made storysacks are as follows
A squash and a Squeeze (see above) as you can see I have the book, worksheets, laminated worksheets, flash cards and sentences for the children to match the word to the action, we have drawn the masks and fruit and vegetables and these are great or role play. Story sacks are excellent resources for cross curricular teaching and learning, mathematics, language, knowledge of the world, emotions etc
Red riding hood
5 speckled frogs
I made the frogs for this story sack and the child I work with loved them, especially the long legs because that meant the frogs could jump high!
50 fantastic ways to teach phonics
5 ducks went swimming one day
Liam loves lifts
This book was a freebie and it has a height chart with it, a rhyme and a moral about playing with lift doors, I have a tiger that I bought ages ago that can go in the story sack too, all I need to do is add some words and worksheets.
A hungry caterpillar
I will add pictures shortly but follow me on facebook to see what I teach on a day to day basis
I bought these really cheap at the local charity shop