It is important for children with disabilities to have equal opportunities to participate in these experiences and access books as independently as possible. Adapting books is one solution for supporting all children’s literacy development.
Every child has the natural ability to respond to the language and pictures in books. Language encompasses the structure, vocabulary, and meaning of written and oral text and serves as the foundation for early developing literacy skills (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011). Varied experiences with storybooks provide children the opportunity to acquire language syntax, vocabulary, and print awareness. These experiences can include interactive read-alouds, shared reading, and opportunities to explore books independently. It is important for children with disabilities to have equal opportunities to participate in these experiences and access books as independently as possible. Adapting books is one solution for supporting all children’s literacy development.
If a child has… Try this adaptation…
|A fine motor impairment…||Make pages easier to turn by adding “page fluffers.” A fluffer can be a Velcro dot, paper clip, or even a piece of foam. They are clipped or glued to each page, separating them and making each one easier to grasp. If a student has a limited range of motion, consider using magnetic tape as a fluffer and providing the child with a magnetic wand or pointer to assist in turning pages.|
Difficulty attending to a story…
|Keep children engaged by making the book interactive. Highlight selected illustrations or letters with puffy paint. Buy two copies of an inexpensive paperback book and cut out characters from one to use as manipulatives throughout the story. Use props or sound effects to bring the story to life; a misting bottle can represent rain or a drum can bring footsteps to life.|
|A visual impairment…||Help make illustrations tactile and three dimensional; consider gluing sand to a beach, cotton to clouds, or fabric scraps to the characters clothing. Make a story box that includes elements represented in the story that the child can hold and explore. A story box for The Three Little Pigs might include straw, small sticks, and stones to represent bricks.|
- A handout that includes online resources: A-Z of Adapting Books for Students with Disabilities in Virginia (broken link)
- Read, Play, Learn! Storybook Activities for Young Children by Toni Linder
o A curriculum that provides story-related activities around storybooks to promote general development and boost cognitive, sensorimotor, language, social, and emerging literacy skills.
- More Story Stretchers: More activities to expand children’s favorite books by Shirley Raines
o Presents complete lesson plans to expand stories of 90 popular children’s stories. Extension activities include activities for circle time, dramatic play, art, music, and science.
- The Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom: Easy ways to adapt learning centers for all children by Patti Gould
o This book describes practical ways to adjust centers and classroom routines for children with special needs. The suggestions in each chapter will enable all children to learn by keeping them involved in developmentally appropriate routines and center-based activities.
Pinnell, G. S., & Fountas, I. C. (2011). Literacy beginnings: A prekindergarten handbook. Portsmouth, NH:Heinemann.