Accessible storytelling for World Book Day

Young man signing next to a cuddly blue cat

Four charities from across the UK have come together to highlight accessible storytelling for this year’s World Book Day.

Family Fund, the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, joined with The Makaton Charity, Singing Hands, and Wouldn’t Change a Thing to create a visual storytelling film, using Makaton, of children’s laureate Julia Donaldson CBE’s book Room on the Broom, featuring families and children who have been supported by the charities, alongside volunteers and employees. The video tells the award-winning story using Makaton, which combines signs, symbols and speech to help people communicate.


More than 100,000 children and adults use Makaton, and it can work as a main method of communication or to assist speech, and it can allow children with disabilities to express themselves independently.

This is the third year that Family Fund, The Makaton Charity, Singing Hands, and Wouldn’t Change a Thing have come together to create a Makaton storytelling video, with the hope that more people will understand how important Makaton is for people.   

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive at Family Fund, said “Families come together through storytelling, and this is a great example of how Makaton can help stories be accessible to children with learning or communication difficulties. It is wonderful to see our families signing together, and we’re delighted to be sharing another classic story for families to enjoy.”

Suzanne and Tracy of Singing Hands say “We love signing stories – they are the perfect vehicle for teaching and practising Makaton signing in a child-centred, fun way.  World Book Day enables us to showcase how Makaton can be used to enhance storytelling and make it more inclusive to all”

Zanna Finnerty, from The Makaton Charity, says "The Makaton Charity exists to ensure that everyone living with learning or communication difficulties has the tools and resources they need to understand and be understood. Using Makaton with storytelling ensures that everyone can join in and feel included."

Stef Fallows, Trustee from Wouldn’t Change a Thing, said “We are delighted to be part of the collaboration for World Book Day for a third year. The benefits of books and storytelling on child development are well-recognised, as well as the simple pleasure that a good story brings! We are proud to be part of a project that helps to make WBD as inclusive as possible, and increase the awareness of Makaton.”

The video will be broadcast across the charities’ social media channels on World Book Day, and sent to schools to use as a learning resource.

Room on the Broom was written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler and published in 2001. It was also adapted into an Oscar-nominated animated film in 2012.