What Is This Resource?

Social stories are a useful teaching strategy recommended in He Māpuna te Tamaiti. Social stories support children to better understand specific social concepts, skills, or situations, and are intended to help children apply that knowledge in their everyday interactions. Social stories are short, personalised stories or books that can bring about learning for children through shared story reading. They are also known as scripted stories. Social stories are not designed to change a child’s behaviour but instead give the child the knowledge needed to understand an expectation or situation by making the implicit explicit. The strategy was first described by Carol Gray in the 1990s. 

This resource is a guide designed to support early childhood teachers through the steps of writing a social story with advice on how to use them as a teaching strategy. The guide outlines key components of social story writing which helps ensure they are written in holistic and mana-enhancing ways.

How do I use This Resource?

We encourage teachers and teaching teams to use the guide to trial writing and using social stories to support an individual child or group of children. Social stories aligned with a setting’s learning priorities can support the implementation of local curriculum. The guide can offer a great starting point for conversations about social stories and whether they are a strategy teachers may want to trial in their setting. The guide is not intended to be an exhaustive ‘how to’ and teachers may want to engage in further reading prior to social story implementation.

Check out these Additional References

Gifkins, V., & McLaughlin, T. (2022). Using social stories as in intentional teaching strategy. Early Education, 68, 20-28. [link to article]

Carol Gray’s Social Stories Website:


NCPMI’s resource library of scripted stories:




Gifkins, V. & McLaughlin, T. (2023). A Guide to Supporting Learning with Social Stories. Unpublished guide available at: https://eyrl.nz/social-stories-guide/