Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Using Familiar Routines to Create Sensory Stories

A young girl explores a tub of waterAs I have discussed previously in other blog posts my daughter Scarlett is a massive lover of music.  My mini maestro is literally music mad and, although it is great to see such a burning passion in that area, it is also very important to develop a love of literacy.
There are many great tactile books on the market for children that can help to generate an interest in books and reading, but Scarlett has demonstrated very little interest, so her school and I have taken a different approach!

Sensory Stories

Sensory stories are a great way to include all the senses into storytelling and an approach favoured by my delightful daughter!  She has delays in her development and understanding, so it is important to keep the stories simple.   I have found that using stories which include routines, vocabulary or sounds that she uses herself in her language is a great way to keep my daughter focused on the tale.
Scarlett attends a school for children with complex needs and they have adopted a multi-sensory approach.  The school is fantastic at tailoring the curriculum to suit the child’s individual needs.  They have made a range stories which focus around Scarlett’s routine.
I was able to visit her school to see one in action.  The items that were used were:
  • Small tray of water
  • Towel
  • Bath toy
  • Bubble bath
  • Moisturiser

Creating a Script

By using the script below each of the items listed above were introduced to Scarlett as a sensory indicator to match with the words.  By using audio, touch and smell it brought the bath time story to life.
  • "It’s time to have a bath."   
  • "Let's run the tap." (Audio of tap running sound)
  • "Can you feel the water?" (Either hands or feet can enter the tray of water.)
  • "It’s nice and warm."
  • "Let's splash!"  (Encourage splashing in the water tray.)
  • "Here’s a toy."  (Introduce toy.)
  • "Can you smell the bubble bath?"  (Smell bubble bath)
  • "Let's put some in our bath." (Pour a small amount in.)
  • Allow time to explore the water, the smells, sounds and toy inside.
  • "All finished, time to get out."
  • "Let's get nice and dry with our towel." (Use towel to dry her off.)
  • "Bath time is finished!"
Girl using a communication card to find out what will happen nextIntroducing the storyFeeling water in the tub
The story is very simple, which was great for Scarlett.  She demonstrated excitement at each of the stages and was able to use some of the language to help along with the story telling!
Collage of sensory stories


amy loves her sensory story

Posted by julie hinton

Sensory Story from Amy

Posted by Charlotte Cushman

more examples?

Posted by Ashley

Looking for more examples

Posted by Charlotte Cushman

Posted on May 16, 2016
Updated on: May 8, 2018

Previous comments for Using Familiar Routines to Create Sensory Stories

Charlotte Cushman commented on January 3, 2018

Hi Ashley,

We don't want you to think we are ignoring you, but we are still waiting for news about more examples.  We will share them if and when we get them!

Ashley commented on December 21, 2017

This post is great. I teach preschool special education and have been looking for good examples of sensory stories that would be appropriate for my students needs. This example was perfect. Any chance you could share more examples?

Charlotte@Perkins commented on May 20, 2016

Thanks for letting us know about Amy's sensory story, Julie!  Sorting famliar items (pinecones and pebbles) is a nice way to extend the activity and help to broaden concepts.

julie hinton commented on May 19, 2016

amy loves her sensory story,we do song one as well putting world to nursery ryhmes to make a story, also get amy to do thing like sorting fir cones and pebbles inton tin ect