SEND story resources
Sighted children develop a huge amount of knowledge and experience through incidental learning. During the first few years of life they have exposure to a vast range of visual symbols that convey meaning. This access to the literate environment doesn’t occur naturally for a child with VI. Our goal is to expose the child with visual impairment to a rich variety of concrete experiences. Involving as many objects, people, places and activities as possible. You should do this systematically, as early as possible and as often as possible.
SEND story resources build a foundation of reading readiness skills and fun experiences. From infancy this is critical. Use a theme-based approach during the emergent stages of literacy development. Enabling you to offer a multitude of rich, meaningful literacy learning opportunities. Link them to everyday situations. Ensuring we maximize the literacy opportunities from within fictional books.
A vast array of learning opportunities surrounds us. We can use these to support the learning development of a child with visual impairment. These start in the home, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the garden and beyond. A holistic approach. Harnessing the child’s everyday environment. Embraced by professionals and parents. Offering exciting, include: auditory and language skills, and concept development. Tactile and fine motor skills, book and story skills.
Key to concept development is that you ‘milk’ and ‘reinforce’ each learning opportunity. You are teaching the child about objects, their characteristics and qualities. How you make them, where you store them and what their purpose is in different contexts. The child needs to feel, smell, taste (if appropriate) and look at objects. Developing appropriate and meaningful language to support their understanding. I call this the ‘ness’ of the object.
A popular Positive Eye concept activity to show this is the ‘woodenness of wooden spoons’. Gather a collection of wooden spoons (different lengths and types). Explore how you make them, where you keep them, what you use them for and where you can buy them from. Investigate the sounds you can make, explore the textures and feel of each spoon and taste food from them. We are looking at developing a clear understanding of ‘Process, Form, Shape and Purpose’.
Experience and maximise the learning opportunities. Organise the spoons from the shortest to longest. Thinnest to widest, or smallest head to biggest; or measure using each spoon as a unit of measurement. Visit your local store and buy a wooden spoon, wash it, feel it when it is wet, dry it, put it in the drawer. Make beans on toast, feel how many beans fit on the spoon. Try eating the beans from the spoon, does the spoon fit in your mouth? If not, whose mouth does it fit in?
Then, building on this approach, collect a basket of everyday objects. Develop and progress to include greater concept development. Tactile discrimination and fine motor skills. Use different textures, make sounds, play and extend the learning. Rattle the spoon in a cup, fill a cup and a jug with water and find out which holds the most. Squeeze water from a sponge. Match socks or categorise brushes, such as toothbrushes and paintbrushes.
These approaches form the way in which Story Buckets work. They offer a fun, creative way for the child into enjoy a meaningful literacy experience. Linked to either a story or everyday learning opportunity or both. A practical example of this is ‘Marvin’s Market Adventure and Grandma’s Special Birthday Picnic’.
SEND story resources with Marvin
This is a story about Marvin who was a kind a little boy. He loved to visit his Grandma and help her to look after her beautiful garden. One day he decided he would surprise her as it was her birthday and he want to make her a special picnic. He wrote his list of all the things he would need for the picnic and set off to the market to make his purchases. He would buy a beautiful flower for her garden and a little shiny fish for her pond. Little did he know that he was in for a surprise when he arrived at the market!
Our story demonstrates how to support and develop a theme-based approach. Using a fictional story. Based on the rich learning opportunities in the everyday experience of the market. It embraces the ‘marketness’ of the market place.
Use a good-sized bucket with a bucket apron fitted around it. Making a convenient portable carrier and a place from which to bring the story to life. The pockets of the apron create exciting storage spaces to place the objects for the child to find. Whilst larger objects can fit into the bucket itself. Blank credit cards with large print and Braille labels attach with Velcro to each pocket. Encouraging the child to read the label, letter/word. Here is a list of some of the things gathered for the story bucket:
Bucket, bucket apron, Marvin (boy doll). Sunflower with tatty leaves, silver fish, vegetables and fruit. Piggy Bank, purse, shopping list, shopping bag, real or plastic flowers. Bread rolls, gingerbread men, cake, lots of little and big shiny fish cut out in card. Picnic cloth, bottle of lemonade, big and little plastic boxes for big and little fish. Real vegetables and fruit. Red hat and apron, flat cap and apron, fisherman’s hat and wellington boots. Baker’s apron and hat, paper bags, birthday candles.
As you tell the story the child introduced to the critical features of the objects. With encouragement and support they can locate and explore. Feel, press, touch, lift, hold, grasp, look, smell and taste (as appropriate). Talk to the child using meaningful language to describe and explain the purpose. The shape, form and process as the story unfolds. Here are some examples of the learning opportunities that lie within Marvin’s story. There are many more besides.
Read the story and give the child the real objects to hold whilst they listen Provide labels for all the items and have the child match the Braille/print label to the item Dress up and role play the story Make a simple model of a market stall Make a book of main characters and key words Make a shopping list; handwrite, type, record using audio labeller Count money into wallet, sort coinage
Flora Flower’s Stall Plant flowers and vegetables – measure growth Feel the parts of the flower, petals, stalk, leaves Talk about how we use flowers to signify different occasions. Birthdays, weddings, saying thank you
Veg Man Vernon’s Fruit and Vegetable Stall Buy and explore real fruits and vegetables. Count, sort, categorise, discriminate, smell, taste, cut, cook, eat, make vegetable prints, add sand to paint to create texture Explore a vegetable patch, grow own vegetables
Fishman Phil’s Stall Visit a fishmonger, buy a fish, feel and explore, smell, cook and eat! Talk about where fish live, pond, seas, rivers, lakes
Grandma’s picnic Make/buy/decorate a birthday cake Make gingerbread people: count, buy ingredients, make, bake and eat Lay table for picnic, count how many plates, glasses, spoons you need
To sum up, literacy opportunities are all around the child. All waiting to for you to explore and experience them. Remember to add ‘ness’ onto everything you talk about. The ‘bucketness’ of buckets, the ‘fishness’ of fish, the ‘cakeness’ of cakes and more! Keep it concrete and purposeful with learning maximised to the full, but most of all keep it fun!
Marvin’s Market Adventure and Grandma’s Special Birthday Picnic SEND story resources is £10 to download from our shop check it out
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