Blog Archive

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Create Amazing Adapted Books for Practically Free!

One thing you should know about me is that I love to shop at thrift stores. I am not careless in buying just anything, but I do like to find some hidden treasures. That is where I find the BEST books to adapt for my therapy sessions.

Next time you drive by your local thrift store or Goodwill, turn around, go back, and check out their children’s book section. Most thrift stores in my area sell children’s books for 25 to 50 cents each. Hardback children’s books are typically 75 cents.

So why should you shop at the thrift store?
Children’s books donated to thrift stores are often gently used, high interest, and may even be donated from home-school parents or classroom teachers thinning out their book bins. I have found Dr. Seuss books, Tomie DePaola, David Shannon, and Kevin Henke sets at Good Will in the past. Of course, I snatched them up!

Why should I adapt books?
Students with emergent literacy skills need to interact with books. They need to hold a book in their hands to orient it. They need to turn pages, point to and talk about pictures. They also need to point to words sweeping left to right to gain an understanding of one-to-one correspondence. This is how early readers learn that sounds are represented by letters. Letters make up words. Words make up sentences, and sentences make up a story. By adapting books, you are making print accessible and interactive. They are involved in the reading process.

What kind of books should I look for?
When I stop to browse the children’s book section at thrift stores, I look for books with content, simple text, and high interest. I also look for books to supplement themes and seasonal activities. Head Start, preschool, and kindergarten classrooms often follow themes throughout the year to teach their curriculum. Thrift stores are a wonderful place to find books about colors, shapes, numbers, farm animals, holidays, pets, family, and places to visit. As I mentioned above, you may also find specific author books, such as Dr. Seuss at thrift stores.

In addition, you want to look for a book that can be adapted. Carefully examine the book, look at the spine, the individual pages, the page formatting, the size of the print versus the size of the picture and the flow of the book from page to page.  If you add visuals to the pages, will it make sense? If it is a paperback trade or picture book, then it will need to be able to be taken apart at the spine. You will see that some of my books are quite old. The pictures are old and colorful, but outdated. My adapted book, “With the Fish” is quite an old book, but because of its uniqueness, it’s a favorite among students.

I found a book, now how do I adapt it?
Books can be adapted in several ways and depends on your purpose. Many of my adapted books were chosen for the sequence, the content and the specific vocabulary. This is how I generally adapt a book for my classroom.

  1. Wipe down the book with a sanitizing wipe to get smudges and dirt off.

  2. Take the book apart at the spine and trim the edges for re-binding later. If the pages are not numbered, number them. Don’t assume you will remember the order of the front-back pages once it’s taken apart.

  3. Laminate all the pages individually and trim.

  4. Rebind the book using either a comb binding machine (as shown below) or book rings where the binding used to be.

  5. Once the book is laminated and rebound, you can add the visual support that makes the book functional for different abilities as well as interactive for content.

6. Go through the book page by page and pick out the key word that would be best represented on that page with a visual. I use Board Maker to create images for each page of the book. 

 7.Create a document of all the visuals you chose to include with the book. If it’s a counting book, make number cards. If it’s a book about the seasons, print pictures to match. If it’s a book about feelings, create pictures with various feelings or emoji symbols.

  8. Make sure you have a picture for almost every page. Include the picture and the word on every cell you create. I typically create child-friendly picture cards in a size of  1-1/2 inch squares. Print on card stock, laminate and cut out the pictures for the book.

   9. Now you are ready to add the pictures to your book using Velcro© dots. Attach the pictures on the pages alternating outside corner with inside corner and top versus bottom placement. This will help the book to open and close easily and not bunch up in the corners where all the photos are located. The slightly raised pictures function as “page fluffers” for little fingers that cannot yet turn pages or for physically impaired individuals that may not be able to turn pages on their own.

If you want to make your own adapted and interactive books for practically FREE, take your time to enjoy a couple thrift stores and let your imagination guide you to the right books. The cost of the book (less than $1) and some Velcro©  will transform trash into therapy treasure. For topic specific adapted interactive books in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, click HERE.

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Lisa, SLP

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