I always have students working on categorization and I’m sure you do too. This is such an important skill to target with our students. It helps build up vocabulary skills and identify how items are similar and different. I’m always looking for material to work on building up vocabulary skills and target those category goals for my students. I have created and used different material over the years to work on categorization with my students but I realized I didn’t really have any category specific adapted books. This is why I decided to create a set of category adapted books which all target varying skill levels. The series includes What Category Do You See?, I Spy Categories, and What Is The Category? Each week I’ll focus on a different book and how I’m using them in therapy.
I’ll start with the book which I created in my mind to be the easier book of the three. This book is called “What Category Do You See?” For this book the student has to identify the category in which the 3 items belong. I targeted 20 different common categories which all have a visual paired with the name of the category to help the students understand the category. This is for my students who are still working on learning categories and need that added visual support because they don’t quite understand the name of all those categories without that added visual.
Across the top of the page I simplified the question to just “What do you see?” because I want my students to help me ask the question. If my student uses a core board or AAC device, they can touch the “what” question word or the “see” picture because those are core words I like to model and practice with my students. After we read the question, I point to each picture as I name the items or maybe my student can help me name some of the pictures. Again, this is also great to build up those vocabulary skills and work on naming common items. “The square, heart, and triangle are all…” Then the students whose turn it is finds the picture of the “shapes” category card and places it in the empty box.
This is also a great time to work on turn taking. If I have 2 students in a group I have one student complete the top category and then I work on the other student requesting “my turn” and completing the second part of the page. If you have 3 students you can still have each student do one category and then let another student have a turn. I found this keeps my students more engaged because they don’t have to wait too long for a turn. It also makes them work on requesting “my turn” before they get to do their part in the book. “The piano violin, and drums are all….instruments”
For some of my students if scanning and trying to identify the category from such a large field of categories, I reduce the choice to 2 categories. On the page, “Basketball, baseball, and football are all…” I might give them a choice of 2 categories, “Are they sports or drinks?” Then the student can select the sports category and place it in the box.
You can also have your students use their AAC devices to select the correct category name. This can be challenging because my students often want to select one of the pictures they see on the page instead of selecting the overall category icon on their device. Good practice for your students to work on navigating their devices.
I also thought this might be a good book to complete at an independent work station because the student does not have to be able to read independently. The student can use the pictures to help visually see how the items are related and select the correct visual category. Then after they complete the book maybe someone in the room either the teacher or the paraprofessional can go through and check the book with the student and have him/her name those categories.
The repetition of doing this book multiple times will help practice and learn some of those common category names. To extend this book, you can always see if you students can add an item or two to each category. For example, after identifying the crayons, notebook, and glue are all school supplies maybe each student in the group can think of an additional school supply which would fit in the group since there are some many school supplies.
They also might be able to add more to the body parts or technology group. Lots of ways to continue to build up those category skills.
I’ll share about another book next week. If you are interested in this set of books you can find them on TPT with the link – Category Adapted Book Series