New school library filled with multi-sensory stories

Stories are being brought to life with the help of new resources that go beyond words and pictures.

Pupils at Palatine Primary School get their first look at the new books. Picture: Mandy Short
Pupils at Palatine Primary School get their first look at the new books. Picture: Mandy Short

Books are an important feature at Palatine Primary School but as the children have special educational needs, they also need multi-sensory stories, told through voice and emotion.

The school, in Palatine Road, Worthing, was granted £5,000 by the Foyle Foundation to fund books and head teacher Catriona Goldsmith officially opened the new library on Thursday.

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Mandy Short, fundraising assistant at the school, said: “It has made a significant difference to our facility and being able to choose so many new books and resources was very exciting.

“As we are a special needs school, as well as reading books, we selected lots of books in multi-sensory form where the teacher can use props with visuals, sounds and touch to create storytelling based on voice and emotion rather than pictures and words.

“Our opening was the first opportunity for our pupils to experience their new library books and resources.”

With the help of Tracey Smith from the Schools Library Service in Worthing, a variety of books were chosen, including the touchy-feely series from Usborne and sound books.

There are also sturdy iPads, story bags full of characters and props to go with the books, and multi-sensory story boxes from the charity Bag Books.

Teacher Wendy Moss said: “Books are loved and they get chewed and sat on, so they end up a bit tatty. The time had come and we had the opportunity to apply for funding, and luckily we were successful. We sent out a questionnaire to the children, parents and teachers to see what books they wanted.

“We tried to cover everything. We know the noisy books are going to be popular as over the years, they have all disappeared with the children into classrooms.

“The Bag Books are a brilliant idea, very simple but all of our children can access them and now they make them especially for us.”

The Foyle School Library Scheme gives priority to primary schools, as it believes encouraging children to read widely from an early age will provide a major boost to improving literacy levels.

Librarian Jo Shepherd-Dart, who was praised for all the work she puts into the library, said: “We chose a lot of noisy books because the children love them and we took the opportunity to buy them because they are quite expensive.

“We have other storybooks from West Sussex library service which we can change regularly and that is really good.”