Intro to Adapted Books

What are adapted books and why should I use them?   Adapted books are books that have been modified in some way and often make it easier for students with disabilities to use but I also find adapted books are more engaging for all students to read and target so many critical language skills.  I create and use adapted books all the time because they are interactive, motivating, and target various language skills.  Many allow the students to feel successful and part of the book because they have to add or move pieces within the book.

Adapted books can vary in skill level and be used for a wide variety of students with different skill sets and literacy skills.  I’ll talk in the next two posts about using adapted books with different age groups and different skill levels.  Easier adapted books are often repetitive in nature which helps increase student participation and repetition helps with retention of new information.  Many times there are pictures associated with the vocabulary terms so it provides those extra visual supports to help with understanding and comprehension of the verbal message.  As the books become more challenging students rely less on pictures and more on the written words.

For those of you new to using adapted books, I’ll go over a few examples of different adapted book types and some skill sets which are targeted in those books.  In the book “What Bugging You?  School Supplies”, the student has to match the bug to the correct school supply item on each page.  Each word is in a different box and many words have a picture paired with the word.

For this particular book, the student is just matching the bug to the correct school supply item from the picture on the bottom of the page.  This seems easy but it can be very challenging for some of our lower functioning students and using this book still targets many important language skills.  The student needs to attend to the book, discriminate between pictures, and process the auditory message.  The student can work on turning the page, pointing to the words or pictures on the page, and naming items.

Some require the student to find the correct color of item and place it in the book.  For example, in the book “What is the Snowman Wearing?” the student needs to find the correct snowman which matching the given description.  You can have the student point to each text box as you read the words and he/she may be able to read some of the words with you.  Again, the repetitive nature of the book makes it more likely that the student if he/she is verbal will say the “what is the snowman wearing?” part with you.

Other books may require the student to place the correct number of items to match the description.  In the book “What’s on the Grill, Dad?” the student has to place the correct number of food items on the grill.  This is great for student working on number concepts.

I have several adapted books which target prepositional concepts and have the student place the targeted item in the correct location.  This build up vocabulary skills and works on those prepositional concepts which are often difficult for our students.  In the book “Where is the Jack-O-Lantern?” the student has to place the different jack-o-lanterns in the correct location.

Think about what skills you students have and look for adapted books on their level which target specific goals you have for your student.  Again, I’ll share more information about picking the right adapted books to use with your students next week.  The topics with include Using Adapted Books with Younger Students and Using Adapted Books with Older Students.  Our students’ skill levels can vary significantly so we need to select the right books to match our students’ abilities.



  1. I love the idea of adapted books. Do you make the books yourself? If not where would I be able to find them?

  2. Love all of these ideas. Quick question? Are you using two books and laying one behind the other or is it one book with an extra page attached for the actual pieces? If it’s one book, how are you attaching that page exactly? Hope that makes sense!

  3. Hi Bre, All of these pictures are one book – we bind an extra storage page to the right side of the last page of the book, so it can flip out. There are detailed instructions within each resource as well! Makes keeping the pictures in the right spot much more manageable!


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