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Complex Texts

Story sharing is part of the communication curriculum. The focus of the session is on developing communication skills rather than developing reading, although early reading skills may well be part of the learning intention for some pupils.

Teachers can plan and deliver story sharing as they think best meets the needs of their group. This may be as

  • a whole group activity
  • Small group activity
  • 1:1

Story sharing should be a regular part of the day – ideally daily and at least 3 times each week.

Teachers can have a separate story sharing lesson or incorporate it in communication sessions

Teachers can use a wide range of approaches in story sharing including

  • Sensory stories
  • Massage stories
  • Story sacks
  • Call and response
  • Story boxes
  • Adapted books
  • Books

There is a text map which highlights resources for each term, these are suggestions, teachers can choose any resource they want to use. Teachers must not use resources allocated to different ages and stages without prior discussion with curriculum lead.

Add any new texts and resources to the text map

Texts should be used for an extended period to allow for generalisation of learning.

Most of the texts from the map are in school or online but some will need to be ordered so look well in advance and let NS know if you want resources that are not currently in school.

Texts for sensory stories are available but class teams need to resource the props themselves. This is most effective when based on pupil engagement – use what we know motivates individual pupils!

Wherever possible have multiple sets of props to avoid excess waiting and to allow pupils to explore props at the pace that is right for them.

Implied assent must be gained and respected for story sharing activities, particularly story massage.

Most pupils do not work best when accessing learning as part of a group, consider repeating lines of stories and working with pupils1:1 for each stroke of a story massage rather than trying to spread attention between 2 pupils.

Pupils working at Vale Routes 7 and above are likely to be working on early reading skills.  They may well have learning activities that are wider than the story being shared as part of their communication learning. Discuss planning and approaches with

Jackie Swingler – reading lead

Annie Lovegrove – writing lead

Nicky Sentance – curriculum lead


Writing is on the school development plan for 23/24. We will look at

  • Helicopter stories
  • Story boxes
  • Talk for writing

Over the year we will also have an increased focus on fine motor skills and mark making.

Below are suggestions for story texts and resources in line with themes

The texts and stories are designed be used for an extended period  – a few weeks or half a term.

Classes can focus on one story/ text or use several approaches at a time – ie the group can all have a sensory story or small groups could have a bag book and a massage story

The resources can be used as best meets the needs of the class – whole group, small group or individual.

Stories are from

  • Rhyming multi sensory stories – we have most of these on the server, if you want any others let NS know well in advance
  • Sensory soup – we have most of these on the server, if you want any others let NS know well in advance
  • Quest for Learning units – online
  • My kind of books – online
  • Bag books – we have most of these in school , in the library, some are DIY bag books – on server
  • Once Upon a Touch – massage stories – on server
  • Touch Talks – massage stories – on server
  • Flo Longhorn sensory massage stories – on server
  • Joanna Grace sensory stories – The sensory projects – we have some of these, let NS know in advance if you want others
  • A few stories are on other sites eg
  • Pictures at an exhibition sensory stories South Sheilds museumttps://
  • National galleries Scotland ttps://


Picture books listed are from Pie Corbett reading spine or ones that have worked well in the past.

In most cases they will need to be adapted to work for the complex cohort. There are exceptions to the copyright law that allow us to copy images and make changes to the way we present them.

The text map is designed to be a working document  – please add stories or resources you have used to the map (and put any resources on the server)

Nicky Sentance July 2023

Texts lower 1st school

Texts upper first school

Texts High School