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The Model of a Sparkly Story Time Show - Bringing Literacy to Life.

A Guest Blog by Gwyn McCormack Director of Positive Eye Ltd UK

The model of a Sparkly Story Time Show: Bringing literacy to life for children with complex learning needs in a virtual world


Can you imagine the joy for a family of participating in a virtual Story Time Show inclusively of their child with complex learning needs… and with SUCCESS?!

This is what happened last year….

There was a small woman called Gwyn. Gwyn ran a small company from a small village in the United Kingdom. Normally Gwyn delivered courses about children with complex learning needs, but suddenly COVID struck and everything stopped. Gwyn decided to take action.

From her big cupboard of sparkly things Gwyn found her story character, Marvin and wrote the adventures of Marvin, a kind and helpful little boy who loves to meet new people and make new friends. Gwyn positioned the adventures within the model of a unique Story Time Show. Gwyn took her Show and went LIVE on Facebook, performing 60 + shows. From around the world families of children with complex learning needs discovered the show and a wonderful community formed.

Twenty-two months later, a Story Time Show embedded in teaching and learning practices which supports a multi-sensory approach to literacy for children with complex learning needs continues to positively strengthen literacy outcomes for100’s of children in the USA. The outcomes have quite literally surprised everyone.

Here’s a short clip of the Story Time Show


Each highly colourful, lively show starts with an engaging, rainbow wheel welcome to draw the children in. High contrast, glittery cardboard characters enact Marvin’s adventures. Children are encouraged to join in with the show’s catchy songs. Highly energetic, enthusiastic storytelling, ‘shout-outs, rhythms and funny voices all combine to maintain the children’s focus and attention. Children respond warmly to Marvin’s mid-show chat, a moment enhanced by each having their own Marvin doll to interact with. Live captioning and two interpreters ensure an accessible show and families are given materials to make the fun crafts demonstrated live.

The approaches adopted promoted literacy access skills

  • Concept development

  • Fine motor

  • Tactile discrimination skills

  • Auditory and language development

  • Visual skills (Visual attention, tracking, scanning etc)

  • Book and story skills

  • Smell and taste

  • Model making

  • Imaginary play

  • Music, singing, rhythm

Ready to go LIVE on the Story Time Show

Using rainbow wheels to spin and go ‘WHEEEE!”

Cheerleader pompoms – huge ones for maximum effect

High contrast outfit against blackground

Fun engaging characters designed and painted at Positive Eye using acrylic paint, glitter paper and grey board.

Homemade high contrast hats, red lipstick, black eyeliner to ensure high contrast face

In action on the Story Time Show with Bryan the American Sign Language Interpreter

and Dr Donna Carpenter the State wide Coordinator for the Kentucky Deafblind Project who saw the huge benefits of this work and opened the door to make it happen! The shows are all fully captioned.


‘This snapshot of parent’s comments is worth a thousand words.’ 

This one perhaps sums it up

In summary….

The Story Time Show has made a huge difference to literacy at home for their children with complex learning needs. It’s both strengthened the literacy outcomes for their children but also strengthened their own confidence to present stories to their children in a new and different way. The Story Time Show Expands literacy

  • Builds confidence and support for home: Increase the child’s literacy and language skills while having fun.

  • Creates and builds an accessible home library

  • Creates fun for the whole family

  • Increases attention, concentration, vocalisation, engagement in other story times, understanding of books…..connections have been increased

Finally a presentation by Gwyn McCormack (Positive Eye UK) and Dr Donna Carpenter (Kentucky Deafblind Project, USA) at the SPEVI Conference, Australia, January 2021 about the Story Time Show Story Time Shows for your school or organisation

Please contact me to discuss a Story Time Show for your school or organisation.

Bio of Gwyn McCormack

Gwyn McCormack founded Positive Eye in 2008, her mission being to provide practical courses, consultancy and a bespoke product range of resources for practitioners working with children and young people with vision impairment (VI). Positive Eye has developed to work nationally in the UK and internationally. Gwyn uses her many years of experience as a Qualified Teacher of VI (QTVI) and Head of Service to deliver imaginative and creative approaches, within easy to use frameworks, equipping the front line practitioner with the practical skills they require to support children and schools. Her work has included taking the lead role in delivering the two year QTVI course at the University of South Wales, contributing to the University of Birmingham QTVI course, participating in European projects; the most recent on developing educational resources for professionals working with children with CVI.

She delivers workshops, presentations and keynote addresses at many international conferences supported by her range of creative resources which are shared with enthusiasm and passion, inspiring practitioners with new ideas and approaches.

Children are at the heart of Gwyn's work and creativity is one of her key strengths. She is currently collaborating with the South East States and Midwest States Deafblind Projects (USA) to bring Sparkly Story Shows to 100’s of children and their families. The Story Time Shows are strengthening the literacy outcomes for children with complex learning needs and the positive feedback from this work is immeasurable.

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