Storyboxes at Ratho with Scottish Storytelling Centre


The Scottish Storytelling Centre developed Storyboxes as a way of engaging pupils with literacy through the medium of live storytelling with a professional storyteller, and using objects found in the Storyboxes.

CPD introducing teachers to the Storyboxes was offered initially, with a follow up storytelling surgery. The CPD provided teachers with ideas and guidance on using Storyboxes effectively and the surgeries were designed to support staff after they had begun using the Storyboxes in class with pupils. A professional storyteller also visited the school to demonstrate the imaginative and creative ways in which staff could introduce the oral telling of stories making the links to literacy and books. This input gave both teachers and pupils a model to learn from.

The Storyboxes are filled with a range of colourful objects, toys, stories and activity cards to stimulate children’s imaginations and lead them into oral storytelling through activities and games.

Ongoing support was provided by Storybox designer and storyteller and six themed boxes were used over a term. The teachers acted as role models sharing simple traditional stories and leading children through a sequence of activities. The children became confident in their storytelling skills and told the stories themselves. This led on to storymaking activities and culminated in a school parent open day.

Storyteller in school

The project in Ratho primary school involved:

  • – 200 pupils (P1 – P7)
  • – 8 teachers
  • – 1 professional storyteller


Following the success of the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Storymakers project which ran between 2002 and 2004, the Scottish Storytelling Centre sought new ways to encourage children to get involved in storytelling. Storyboxes were the next logical step, enabling teachers to use storytelling in a proactive, engaging and fun way which appealed to children but which also linked to the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence. Storytelling and storymaking have active learning at their core. They provide opportunities for sharing thoughts and ideas. They are motivational tools which encourage learning, confidence, good communication skills and engagement with literacy across learning and help develop an interest in reading and writing.

The purpose was for pupils to:

  • – Appreciate and enjoy the vibrant and valuable oral traditions within their own and other cultures
  • – Gain confidence and self esteem through acquiring new skills telling and playing with stories together
  • – Develop the skills associated with good storytelling and story-creating

The purpose was for teachers to:

  • – Appreciate the value of storytelling as a multi-purpose tool that can be used with children and young people at all levels, and developing the skills and confidence to use storytelling in  class
  • – Develop good storytelling skills and use the facility for effective and enjoyable teaching and learning
  • – Build their own confidence in telling oral stories and initiating storymaking activities linked to literacy across learning

Contents of the Storybox


Teachers agreed that Storyboxes led to increased confidence in the pupils, the development of good communication skills, a positive storytelling culture across the school, and the use of storytelling as an effective learning tool.

The project was so successful that the school raised funds to buy equipment and they ran the project the following year.

The Head Teacher of Ratho school at the time of the project has moved to another school and is introducing Storyboxes there, in a whole school approach linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

“It was excellent to see how the creative the children could be in such a short time – lot of co-operation and support in their small groups. Lots of magical creatures! Great expressions.” (parent)

“The detail was amazing and the humour, and the comedy timing. Seeing the other children listening and responding while the others told stories was very impressive. They were all very supportive of one another.” (parent)

“….if Storyboxes were in use from P1 as a matter of course tehn real and significant results would be seen by middle primary.” (teacher)

“…..found it inspirational and could see the potential for further development of the concept.” (teacher)

“My best bit was the story cards. I never took my ears or eyes off them. I wished we had it a little longer.” (pupil)

“I thought it was ousom!” (pupil)



  • – The Scottish Storytelling Centre
  • – Ratho School, Edinburgh

Levels and Stages

  • – First level
  • – Second level
  • – P1 – P 7


  • – The Scottish Storytelling Centre

For more information contact:

Joanna Bremner Smith, Education and Training Officer on 0131 652 3272 or email

Or visit:

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