The literacy trust (http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/) describes story sacks as “a large cloth bag containing a favourite children’s book with supporting materials to stimulate language activities and make reading a memorable and enjoyable experience”.
Storysack.com says “Storysacks enhance the teaching of literacy in any setting and contribute to the child’s life-long love of books and reading, helping to bring stories to life worldwide”.
I have been keen to put one together for a while now and in light of it being World Book Day tomorrow I finally got round to putting one together for the story of “Elmer and friends” by British author David McKee.
In this sack, I had a patchwork elephant, a giraffe, a lion, a zebra, a mouse, a snake and a leopard. It proved an instant success with my 4 year old mindee today and he loved dipping in and pulling the characters out of the bag! When we finished the story my mindee excitedly shouted “again!”. He then eagerly scoured the playroom to create his own storysack! It’s a lovely, simple idea that really brought the story to life.
I am looking forward to putting together some more to enhance our daily reading sessions further.
Elmer is a children’s picture book. Elmer is an elephant who has a colourful body, with yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green, black and white arranged as a patchwork.
The Elmer series of stories are suitable for early exploration of the themes and issues relating to the concept of diversity, as Elmer discovers that when he tries to change his appearance in order to ‘blend in’ with the other elephants, they no longer recognise him, or accept him as one of their own. This makes Elmer sad, and he experiences how it feels to be treated like an outcast, after being ostracised by his old friends. It’s only when it begins to rain, and the grey paint that Elmer has covered himself with starts to disappear, that Elmer’s ‘true colours’ are revealed, much to the surprise and delight of his friends, who preferred his multicoloured and fun loving persona. Following their happy reunion, the elephants reassure Elmer that they love him because of his differences, and not in spite of them, and they celebrate by painting themselves in multi-coloured paint, in recognition of Elmer’s unique appearance and personality.