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Stories for everybody

Reading for All, Ideas for stories and reading for children and young adults with severe and profound learning disabilities, has been produced by Mencap, The Royal Schools for the Deaf, (Manchester), The Royal National Institute for the Blind, Widgit Software Ltd and the University of Birmingham ( pound;20 to schools, pound;10 to Mencap locations, pound;5 to parents.From Mencap, Bookshop, Mencap Public Liaison Unit, 123 Golden Lane, London EC1Y ORT. Tel: 0171 454 0454.) It is thoughtful, inspiring and highly relevant to those working with children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and their families.

The message is threefold: books do not have to be conventionally written down to be enjoyed; stories do not have to be conventionally understood in order to learn from them; stories do not have to be conventionally written down to convey meaning.

The spiral-bound pack is accessible, well-designed and illustrated; it offers many practical strategies from teachers, parents and others for helping children and young people into the worlds of books and stories. There are step-by-step teaching approaches, imaginatively based on a variety of texts, including patterned and rhythmical picture books such as "We're going on a Bear Hunt", traditional stories such as "The Three Little Pigs" and classics such as "The Iron Man".

There are many ideas for helping children and young people to represent events and characters through symbols, objects of reference, tactile books, story boxes, role play, drama, music and using computers. These are accompanied by suggestions for props, artefacts, masks, musical instruments, video and audio tapes, slides, dressing-up clothes, smells, and many other means which are clearly based on real experiences.

The pack was inspired by the National Year of Reading and should be seized on by those working with children with a wide range of special educational needs.

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