Adapted Books {Literacy Activities for Nonreaders}

My first few years of teaching I struggled to create literacy activities that could engage all of my students. I think literacy is so important but I struggled to think of ways for my students who are nonverbal and nonreaders to participate. Adapted books to the rescue! Fast forward a few years – an now I am overloaded with adapted books. Now when I say I have tons of adapted books, that may even be an under statement. I think I still have blisters on my hands from cutting out all the laminated pictures years ago.

Basically an adapted book has small velcro pictures to match within the story. You can make any book an adapted book or even make your own! This has worked great with my kids because they have something to do (match the picture) while listening to a story. It’s more hands on and the expectations are clear. Sometimes I think our kids don’t know what to do while listening to a story – do I look, do I sit, do I move my hands? Having the match-the-picture option gives a concrete task to be done.

There are a lot of types of adapted books that can target any type of student or skill set. Here are the types of adapted books you can utilize:

Adapt Story Books You Already Have: I have a made a ton of my own adapted books but also adapted some books we already loved. You can scan the book pages and create small images. Print, laminate, velcro, and you’re ready to go! Here is my Very Busy Spider adapted book:

The Autism Helper - Make Your Own Adatped Books

Pretty much you can take any book and add some clip art pictures.

The Autism Helper - Literacy for Nonreaders

Make Your Own Adapted Books: I  got a little crazy making my own books. I love being able to make books about topics my kids are interested in! Talk about motivating! We have books about dinosaurs, race cars, princesses, and (hate to admit it) a lot of books about food. Pizza Hut, Taco, McDonalds – you name it – we probably have a book for it. I know, I know, I know – I hate to encourage all this unhealthy eating … but if it’s going to motivate reading – I’ll take it.

The Autism Helper - Adapted Books

The Autism Helper - Adapted Book

The Autism Helper - Adapted Book

The Autism Helper - Seasonal Adapted BooksThe Autism Helper - Adapted Book
Student Made Adapted Books: We’ve done kid-made books, where they color in the pages or draw their own – which always turn out super cute:

The Autism Helper - Student Made Adapted Books

Student Picture Adapted Books: You can include student pictures in the adapted books and make it all about them. These books can be highly motivating!

The Autism Helper - Adapted Books

The Autism Helper - Adapted Books


Adapted Books Choice Board: I made a choice board for my books! I made a PECS picture for each book, put strips of hard velcro on cardboard, and laminated a sentence strip. Then students can request what book they want!

The Autism Helper - book choice board


Check out my pinterest board of adapted books for even more ideas and options!


  1. This was truly amazing, thank you !!
    Is it possible to see the contents /structure of the “what should I get at MacDonalds?”book?

  2. Happy you enjoyed it! I’ll be posting that one soon! 🙂

  3. Sasha, do you read these adapted books as a class and the low or non-verbal readers will match with the pictures? I haven’t had a clear understand of how to use these adapted books in the most effective ways? Please share some ideas

  4. With some students we do one on one or in small groups. I teach the whole day in groups – never whole group because the group is too varied. With students who are nonverbal I read the text and have them point to the words and then add the picture. I also have them turn the pages, pass to take turns, etc to increase book awareness. Hope this helps! I will do more posts on this later in the school year! 🙂


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