Tips and advice for Special School Library Pack

Some creative suggestions to help your school get the most out of the Special School Library Pack.

boy reading with pile of books illustration

Sharing stories

Choose actions or signs to represent story characters and use them when you tell and talk about the story. 

Try telling the story but adding actions or signs for certain words in the story. Once students have become familiar with each selected action, you can try fully replacing the word with the action, much in the same way as silent actions can replace the singing in Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes. This could also be done using visual images, noises or even smell to represent some of the different words. You might want to combine several or all of the sensory experiences.

Discussion points

Discuss what it would be like if a character from one of the stories came to the students' environment. If they came to visit your school, what would you do and where would you take them?

Imagine a character from one book escaped into another. What would happen? What would they say? What would they do?

Match pictures within the story to symbols showing the relevant emotions.

Writing activities

Create a 'same and different' table for two stories, challenging students to look at two books and find five things that are the same and five things that are different.

Looking at the sensory stimuli in a story, create a spider diagram with the story title in the middle and the smells, tastes, touches, sights and sounds on the five radial arms. Around each of the five senses, encourage students to write experiences that would be encountered in the story. 

Students could try writing a text message or email from one character to another.

Drama and performance

Create a sequence of three tableaus to represent the beginning, middle and end of the story. This can be a great acting experience for students who might not feel comfortable speaking or even moving in a performance.

Use a bed sheet and a light source to create a shadow theatre. You can make puppets out of card, or students can act themselves, in order to retell the story. You can change your own shadow by sticking ears onto a headband, or making a cardboard nose. If you use a projector, human actors can interact with cardboard puppets placed on the projection screen. Agree someone (probably the teacher) to take on the personality of one of the characters. Students can then phone the character, and ask them questions. If confident, students can then try playing a different character themselves.

Get creative

Students can make their own 'envelope theatre' and paper finger puppets: cut a hole in an A4 envelope and draw curtains on the front. Slide puppets of story characters inside and act out key scenes.

Adapt a nursery rhyme song you know to sing about the story. For example, take Old King Cole or Twinkle Twinkle to give you a tune, then begin singing the story for your students and get them to continue it.

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