Eleanor trained as a teacher in 1984 and has taught mainly in the EYFS since then. In 2003, she began teaching children with speech, language and communication difficulties within a mainstream school and was then appointed co-ordinator of a two year language and communication intervention project with responsibility for developing teaching resources and guidance. This was delivered to schools in North West Durham.
Eleanor has always used audio resources as part of her regular teaching activities and, aware of the importance of supporting children’s listening and spoken language skills, she came up with the concept of StoryPhones, an MP3 audio system designed specifically to make listening an easy and accessible activity for all children. Eleanor left full time teaching in 2008 to concentrate on the design and development of StoryPhones with her husband Simon. Alongside StoryPhones, they have developed an educational download store called BookShelf, which now contains 100’s of audio stories, song, listening games and MFL resources provided by leading publishers such as Pearson, Walker Books and OUP.
Eleanor still teaches regularly, and focuses on the development of the BookShelf download store. She also delivers training and leads workshops promoting the use of audio resources and the benefits that children can gain from taking part in regular listening activities.
I have recently spent a few days teaching in an EYFS Unit. It’s been a wonderful chance to share my love of storytelling and use of audio stories with the children. It’s also been an interesting opportunity to observe children’s reactions to the different ways of sharing and listening to a story.
I don’t claim to be the world’s best story teller but I like to think that, when reading with a group of children, most of them will be listening. A good story and a lot of enthusiasm go a long way! However, the children knew that there was an audio story to accompany the book so were keen to listen to this the next day, which we did, and they were gripped. What struck me when observing the children as they listened was the way that they reacted to the music and sound effects. I was also impressed at how intently many of the three year old children were listening.