Story Massage and the Literacy Curriculum

The Story Massage Programme is now part of the Literacy Curriculum in many schools. In Tipperary, Ireland, for example, it has been introduced in two autism classes. Within a few months of weekly sessions run by Melanie Kelly, the class teacher noticed a marked improvement in expressive language used by the pupils.

Story Massage and Primary Language Curriculum

Avril Mounsey, class teacher at Kiladangan National School, says “Our pupils now have the ability to distinguish between verbs, nouns and adjectives,” says  “I feel this is directly related to the fact that Story Massage literally brings to life these words for them making it easier to attach a visual image to each word and therefore easier to store and retrieve these words.”

Avril is so impressed by the positive impact of Story Massage on the pupils with autism that she has started to record the progress of pupils. Here is an example of an evaluation of a Story Massage session based on a Halloween Story Massage written by Melanie.

“Sometimes Melanie creates her own stories around a current topic,” says Avril, “We also work closely with her to concentrate on the stories and poems we are covering that week or month as part of our Literacy Curriculum. Story Massage helps bring words to life for our pupils which in turn makes the learning experience a more enriching and beneficial experience for them. We are seeing an increase in vocabulary with regular sessions.”

Sharing Story Massage with Buddies

Story Massage proved so popular as part of the Literacy Curriculum with the pupils in the Autistic Classrooms that Melanie invited pupils from the mainstream to join some of the sessions. “The children have buddies in the mainstream school that they pair up with and work with,” says Melanie, “It went really well and they all loved it. One of the children said that Story Massage was his favourite activity which was lovely to hear.”

Feedback from the Pupils

Here is some of the feedback from Melanie’s sessions:

“It feels good” … “We always ask permission” … “I feel safe” … “It is relaxing” … ” “I like the drum feeling” … “It feels nice” … “It makes me feel sleepy” … “Excellent

More about the Story Massage Programme

The Story Massage Programme combines the fun and reassurance of story with the benefits of positive, respectful touch. It is enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it accessible for all. You can find more in our Story Massage Book. 

The online training is ideal for therapists, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, Early Years practitioners, those working with people with additional needs, Baby Massage Instructors, Relax Kids Coaches… everyone with an interest in sharing sensory stories and positive touch activities with children and adults. All the information is here: Story Massage Online Training.