In only a few months of teaching in an Intellectual Disabilities program I've learned a lot. One thing I've learned is that traditional books aren't always enough to capture our students' attention, although our students are completely capable of enjoying stories once the stories are brought to their level.
About a month ago I was visiting a book fair that had amazing prices on books- paper backs for 2-3 dollars each. With a generous donation from a friend I was able to buy multiple copies of books so that I'd be able to play around with ways to adapt them. Our class could have one regular copy of a book and one adapted version so that we can meet the needs of all our learners.
Max Cleans Up was already begging to be physically adapted- the pictures called out to be a touch and feel book. Using felt, foam, glitter glue, pom-poms, feathers, and other small objects I turned it into an interactive book. Since we had two copies I was able to cut one copy out and use it to match the characters. Now one of my friends can take Max off the page and another can take Ruby off the page so that they will be able to physically hold the characters.
I made objects that represent each step in Max's mess so that as we read we'll be able to put the objects into Max's pocket.
I even ordered Max and Ruby dolls so that after my friends are familiar with the story they'll be able to act it out with physical prompts.
The difference in how my students access books is amazing. They love books- love to read, love to participate in telling stories, but how they are able to participate in them varies. It's amazing to see them reenact a story with objects when they cannot begin to orally tell me what happens first in a story.
(Shameless plug- if you want to help out our classroom I have a donors choose site that will help me build up our adapted books and retelling station!)
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