Lis’n Tell is an approach to communication development which is student centred.

It works to their strengths. Core techniques include how to combine verbally and non-verbally:

  • Rhythm and Role
  • Rhyme
  • Repetition and Ritual (intensified meaning through repetitive yet interesting and rhythmical activities linked to the story)

There are core principles of practise which include:

  • Use of significant objects/words/events which engage the attention of the students
  • Iconic gestures to help convey the meaning of the story
  • Creating situations where they are referred to as experts, however ‘low’ or ‘high’ their skills
  • Integrating staff and students in a creative collaboration
  • Enhancing spontaneous communication
  • Creating specific educational and therapeutic goals
  • Measuring outcomes

There are various levels of trainings:

Training for parents and professionals:

Interactive Talks
Numbers: unlimited.

Introductions – One day
Numbers: up to 35

It is recommended that initially, at least 2-3 SLTs  and Teachers or experienced Assistants, do the two day Part 1, so there is deeper insight and experience/understanding and practise from a small group. This can then be backed up by others who do the Lis’n Tell Intro Day.

This approach has worked well with the:

  • NHS SLT Paediatric LD/SLD/PMLD team in South Tees
  • Brent NHS SLT Mainstream Integration Schools Team
  • SLTs at Treloars College for students with PMLD in Hampshire
  • Lambeth and Southwark Early Years NHS SLT Paediatric SLT team

Trainings – Two days

Part 1 (two days) for teams/groups numbers: up to 26 participants

Part 1 (two days) Intensive
Numbers: up to 12

The participants get:

  • Intensive practise
  • Intensive demonstrations/ attention/feedback from me
  • Increased opportunities to discuss their students’ aims and ways of measuring outcomes

Part 2 (two days) intensive
numbers : up to 8. Participants need to have used Lis’n Tell for several months, prepare video evidence and a presentation of 20 minutes to present to the group.

Part 3 Advanced level to become a Lis’n Tell trainer.

Please contact Louise for more details:

Related Research and Evidence:


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

For example:

use of 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

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

Related Links: