Adapted Books For Special Education


Adapted books for special education are a game changer! They can increase engagement and make books and literacy more accessible to all children.

What Are Adapted Books?

Adapted books is a general term for altering books to make them more accessible to children with disabilities. There are a variety of ways that children’s books can be adapted. For autistic children, and children with language delays, one way to adapt books is by adding pictures to match to each page. Specifically, printing off pictures and using Velcro to physically attach them to each page is one way that works very well.

Can I Adapt Books I Already Have?

Yes! Adapting books that you already have at home or school is the best place to start. There are a couple of ways to go about this. One way is to take pictures of the images in the book that you want to focus on. For example, with the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, you could take a picture of each animal and print them off. Then, laminate and add Velcro (have you seen my quick hack for laminating single pictures?). Another way to find pictures is a simple google search. You may be able to find free pre-made pictures for a specific book. My free Visual Supports Starter Set has the pictures for Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and Go Go Go Stop.

How To Make Adapted Books

You can make adapted books for special education in a few simple steps. First, print the pictures that go with the book. As I talked about in the above paragraph, you can make your own pictures, or you can find pre-made sets that go with specific books. Check out this bundle of pre-made picture sets that go with a variety of themed board books. Then, laminate the pictures (the Amazon Basics laminator is my favorite, and it has lasted me years). Next, add Velcro to the book & pictures. That’s it! You are ready to place the pictures inside the book.

Putting Adapted Books Into Action

Educators and parents use adapted books in a variety of settings. It can be a group setting, small group setting, or 1:1 setting. It can be fun to give each student a couple of pictures to match to the pages of the book while you read it during group time. The same can be done during small group and 1:1 teaching opportunities. At home, encourage your child to match the pictures as you read the story to your child. By physically placing pictures on the pages, busy little hands have something to do. The physical aspect also increases engagement. Many of our autistic students are visual learners, so just listening to a story auditorily may not capture their attention. Add the pictures (visuals), and the books are now accessible and more interesting. The other skill that adapted books can address is vocabulary development. This is an added bonus!

Download the free adapted book resource for the “Moo, Baa, La La La” book by Sandra Boynton here. This is brand new and another way for you to try out adapted books and see how they work for your students or child.

I’d love to hear how adapted books for special education are working for you in your classroom or at home. Be sure to comment below and let me know!

If you use visual supports, be sure to read this blog post with more information about the Visual Supports Starter Set.

a photo showing several visual supports for young children with autism

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