Bag Books

Storytelling for children with severe learning disability

Getting children with severe learning disabilities out of special schools and into local libraries. Running multi-sensory storytelling sessions, encouraging library staff to observe and then offering them a short training session.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to




  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



Local libraries are perfect places to start: they know the importance of children’s literature, they are at the heart of most communities and they are now more open to inclusion. But very few librarians have experience of working with children with profound learning disabilities. Even fewer have access to the skills and resources needed to deliver a welcoming, accessible service. Each day we visit a different library which hosts three story-telling sessions (usually with three different special schools from the local area). This develops the interest of library staff through a “safe” environment by observing and learning about the children’s needs, with someone else in control. A fourth session at the end of each day is a training programme giving library staff the skills they need to tell a multi-sensory story themselves. Since 2007, over 2,800 children with severe learning disabilities have taken part in over 400 storytelling sessions and over 1,000 library staff have been trained. 96% of the teachers attending have said that their children benefited from the storytelling session. Each day costs just over £1k so £5k would fund five days.