Phil’s Storytelling

Reviews of Phil’s Story Spinner Stories

Phil is well known and valued in primary schools across the country for his 42 Story Spinner stories. These DVDs contain Phil’s original stories and many traditional stories from around the world adapted and told by him. His DVD stories were awarded the UKLA Special Commendation Award in 2008. In addition his Year 4 story, ‘Granddad and The Laundry Basket’ is featured on the government’s National Strategies web site.

Here are some of the wonderful things educators and commentators have said about Phil’s storytelling and his stories.

“When I sat down to let this story teller work his magic I was utterly spellbound from start to finish. Phil Dermott provides a model of story telling that we can all benefit from.” (Jill Catlow -Former National Strategy Regional Adviser and lead author of the professional development materials commonly known as the EAL Toolkit (Excellence and Enjoyment: learning and teaching for bilingual children in the primary years [DfES 2006])

“The stories are retold vividly with the storyteller’s face and voice providing all the detail children need to picture the action, and feel the tension. The fact that the stories could be replayed would help children internalize the language and structure of the stories.” (NATE Classroom Magazine)

“The stories have been selected following extensive research into the way children respond to stories. It is not just a simple teaching tool, rather a collection of both traditional and modern stories from a variety of cultures.” (The Independent, Reviews)


“A man, sat in a chair, talking directly to the camera for 15 minutes. Dull? Tedious? Not where the Story Spinner is concerned. Phil McDermott is the Story Spinner, and what a story he spins!  (Marc Bowen, Deputy Head, Colerne Primary School, Wiltshire.  Review for (“Teach Primary Magazine”.)

They only see the storyteller’s facial expressions and gestures, so the images they create in their minds are completely unique to them. This unleashes their imaginations which in turn inspires their writing.”  (Carol Smith, Literacy Consultant, Milton Keynes)
The achievements of all the classes involved in the project indicate that oral storytelling can provide a powerful means of giving children a ‘voice’ for their writing. The structure as well as the imaginative content of children’s told and written narratives improved noticeably over the course of one term. Improvements were also seen in vocabulary, use of imagery and in a growing sense of the rhythms and cadences of storytelling.   (Summary of Final Evaluation Report by Eve Bearne, University of Cambridge and Marilyn Mottram, School Effectiveness Adviser, Birmingham)


He gives them a higher order of language and they just suck it in. You can talk with them easily about similes and vocabulary because they are inside it. The wealth of language they have picked up is incredible. It’s another friend in the classroom for us. The children shout ‘Here comes Phil’.”  (Birmingham Primary School Teacher)