“Help! My Child Doesn’t Like Reading Books!”– The Benefits of Making Adapted Books

June 24, 2013

What is an adapted book?

Adapted books are any reading materials which have been modified  to make a book more accessible to a child’s physical needs and style of learning. The most common adapted book consists of color laminated pictures attached by Velcro pieces within the book, so a child can remove and replace the attachments for exploration. Adapted books are resistant to tears and heavy push/ pull movements within the pages, and are usually made of large, durable cardboard stock.  Most large board books can be ordered on-line for discount prices.

Who would benefit from reading an adapted book?

Although any child will likely enjoy an adapted book, Children diagnosed with sensory deficits disorders (the inability to process information through the senses), and language delays (the inability to process and express words) will especially benefit.  Adapted books can be used in all environments, including home, classrooms, and play groups.

Why are adapted books beneficial?

Adapted children’s books provide interactive fun, sensory input, and opportunities to engage in social pretend play. When children remove and attach Velcro pieces from within the book, more small and large muscle groups are engaged with the learning process, and language is stimulated through actions. Large, densely weighted books are helpful because they provide pressure to the muscles and joints when lap reading. Also, thick Velcro strips can be challenging to push and pull together, so a child’s range of motions will regulate speech rate, and increase clarity of thought processes. Additionally, attachable pieces can be moved close to the face, which encourages eye contact.

How would I use an adapted book?

Children can be great teachers in knowing how to use an adapted book.  The attachable pieces can fly through the air, sing a song, land on a flower, talk to characters on the next page, ride in a truck to the next destination, or walk across a leaf stem. Children will often match attachable pieces with items in the book, build fine motor skills as they rotate items like a puzzle piece, or play hide and seek with the items in the room. For older children, the following skills can be taught: Identification of objects and colors, sequencing steps, looking for missing objects, and following directions. When used with two or more children, attachable pieces can be used for collecting, trading, and pretend play.

How do I make an adapted book?

Step #1:  Purchase any size Board Books on-line, or buy one at the local book store.

Recommended Starter Books:

Eric Carle—“The Very Quiet Cricket” (which features a cricket sound on the last page of the book)

Eric Carle—“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Step #2: Photo-copy (black and white—Image Photo quality) each page of the book. *Note: Commercial office supply companies will not make color photo copies of the book, due to Copyright laws. All copies in commercial companies must be in black and white, then adapted, which is permissible for use with children who have special needs. Adapted books are not permissible to be resold.

Step #3:  Uses Dot Markers (or Bingo markers, sold in craft and supply stores) to quickly color the black and white images.

Step #4: Use scissors to cut out preferred characters and objects .

Step #5: Laminate (Local office supply store)and cut out the pieces.

Step #6: Attach Velcro strips (on-line for bulk)  within the book, and to the attachable pieces.

Although it takes some preparation to make an adapted book, the books are very durable and serve multiple functions of learning. Your adaptable book  will out-live paperback books, and will stack nicely on a shelf.  Have fun using your imagination, and follow your child’s lead!

-April Kumlin, B.A., SLP-A

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