Welcome to Lis'n Tell:

Since before 2000, Lis’n Tell has been at the forefront of the use and development of storytelling in speech and language therapy. Louise’s unique combination of techniques has contributed to the innovations of teams of therapists and teachers, parent groups and individual children and their families across the UK and internationally.


Some of us cannot imagine telling a story without a book – ‘off the page’….

With Lis’n Tell you can:

  • acknowledge and enhance your storytelling skills through rhythm and role, rhyme, repetition and ritual
  • develop a range of specialist techniques and core principles to enable and include the spontaneous intentional participation of children with speech language and communication needs.
  • develop strategies to weave your specific educational/therapeutic aims into a story
  • design bespoke ways to record outcomes, based on tried and tested methods created by Lis’n Tell trained speech and language therapists

For the last few years, Louise has been collaborating with co-workers and tutors in setting up a new speech and language support service at The Mount Camphill Community College for young people with learning disabilities. The service was found to be ‘Outstanding’ by HMS Ofsted Inspectors in July 2014.

Key components of Lis’n Tell, e.g. use of iconic gesture and rhythm, chanting and poetic elements are built on evidence-based theories of word learning,memory, storytelling and literacy development.

For example:

iconic gesture:

  • Gesture supports children’s word learning { KARLA K. MCGREGOR University of Iowa, USA, International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2008; 10(3): 112 – 117

Abstract includes:

”… based on a keynote address to the 2007 Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, this review paper summarises three recent research studies that pertain to gesture as an intervention tool. Specifically, the research concerns the utility of gestured input as a scaffold to children’s comprehension of—and hence learning of—spoken words”.

poetry and rhythm in education:

  • Rhythmic Perception, Music and Language: A New Theoretical Framework for Understanding and Remediating Specific Language Impairment(Apr 2010- Sept 2014) – The Nuffield Foundation,
    (Research Associate: Dr Ruth Cumming; Research Assistant: Dr Anji Wilson)
  • “Poetry aloud: The effect of poetic sound on children’s literacy skills”. Kate Prentice, under Professor Goswami ( Director of The Institute of Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge)A two-year intervention project, examining the hypothesis that regular interaction with the sounds and rhythms of poetry will help to enhance the literacy skills of 5-7 year old children.Part of Kate’s research was featured in the BBC Radio 4 programme Inside the Brain of a 5-year-old with Claudia Hammond, on 29th March 2010.

the effects of storytelling

Some Other Useful References:

A pioneer in child led education:

Ashton Warner, S. Teacher Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (January 31, 1986)

A pioneer in Education through Drama:

Wagner, B. (1976). Dorothy Heathcote: Drama as a learning medium. Calendar Islands Publishers; Revised edition edition (1 Jun. 1999)

Recent Research in Children’s Biographical Storytelling:

Westby, C and Culatta, B. (2016) Telling Tales: Personal Event Narratives and Life Stories

Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2016, Vol. 47, 260-282


Byers, J.  (2010) Treating Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Creative Dramatics – Presentation at The American Speech Hearing Association ASHA

Peter, M. (2009). Drama: Narrative pedagogy and socially challenged children. British Journal of Special Education, 36, 9-17.

Peter asserts that “drama as narrative pedagogy can offer even the most remote, hard-to-reach, socially challenged children the opportunity to develop a sense of narrative identity and to move toward more effective participation within a social world” (p. 16).

A Chapter on Lis’n Tell amongst other approaches, published by Routledge in 2012:

USING STORYTELLING TO SUPPORT CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SEN: telling tales to transform lives edited by Dr Nicola Grove

and – on story reading and storytelling:

The Effects of Storytelling and Story Reading on the Oral Language Complexity and Story Comprehension of Young Children

Rebecca Isbell, Joseph Sobol, Liane Lindauer, and April Lowrance

Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 32, No. 3, December 2004