Using Adapted Book with Younger Students - The Autism Helper

Using Adapted Book with Younger Students

When using adapted books with preschools or young elementary students I pick out adapted books which help build on their current skill set.  If the language in the book is too difficult and advanced for the student then the book will not benefit the student.  You won’t expect your preschool or kindergartners to listen to Harry Potter books which is the same with adapted books.  You need to look at the language and content of the book; as well as, the concepts being targeted.  If you want the student to complete the book almost independently or at work station then the book needs to be on the student’s current independent skill level.  If you are using the book for teaching or to address IEP goals then the book will be slightly more challenging and considered their instructional level.  For example, if my students are learning prepositional concepts or number concepts I would select a book targeting those concepts so I can teach the student while they participate in the adapted book lesson.

My younger students benefit from books which are repetitive in nature, target concepts on their instructional level, and have more visuals to support the language being used.  At first I use books which require more matching pictures to pictures in the book.  For example, in the book “Farmer, Farmer What Do You See?” the student selects the correct animal picture to match the picture in book.  Even though the student is only matching pictures it can be challenging.  This book helps build up those vocabulary skills and associates meaning to pictures.  At this point the student is learning to attend to books, turn pages, point to pictures in the book, and build vocabulary skills.

Even using this book, the prompting I use changes depending on the student’s level.  I might give the student a visual field of 2 animals to pick from instead of having to discriminate between all the pictures.  For other students they may point to each box and help “read” the words on the page.  They also can answer a variety of “wh” questions about the pictures on the page.

If you student is working on color concepts you can use adapted books which target identifying the correct color concept and getting models of those color words.  In the adapted book “What Bugging You? Colors and School Supplies?” the student has to place the bug on the correct color school supply item.  This is great if your students are working on color concepts or if you student knows his/her colors he can verbally or with an AAC system name the colors while reading the book.

It also builds up school supply vocabulary terms and he/she again may start reading along with you because of the repetitive nature of each page.  For many of my students these books help expand their utterances.  For example, “pink crayon”, “on pink crayon”, or “bug on pink crayon”…..keep building up their expressive language skills!


Other books target number concepts.  In the book, “Let’s Build a Gingerbread House!” the student has to put a set number of each candy on the ginger bread house.  Model counting and stopping when you read the correct number of items.

I have create lots of different adapted books which target prepositional concepts for my younger students.  A lot of my students have a following directions goal involving linguistic concepts.  I use these location books to help teach different prepositional concepts along with building up vocabulary skills.  In the book “Where is the Shamrock?” the student has to place the shamrock in different location around St. Patrick’s Day themed items.  The visual symbol paired with the prepositional concepts helps provide additional support for some students.

“Where is the Easter Egg?” is another book that targets different prepositional concepts and vocabulary related to Easter and spring time.

As my students make progress with their language skills I use books which are a little more difficult and may target multiple concepts.  In the book “Scarecrow, Scarecrow What Do You See?” the student has to attach the correct number to correspond to the items on the page and the correct picture to match the Fall items on that page.  Again you can change the prompting while reading the book.  Provide 2 choice for numbers or use it as a learning activity and model the number concept as you give student the corresponding number.

Sasha created a bunch of different “How Many? What Color? What?” adapted books.  For these books the student has to count the number of items and attach the correct number, then identify what color the items are and attach the color picture, and finally attach what the item is.  For many of the “what?” pictures they are the same item but a slightly different pictures so the student is not just matching exact items.  These books are great to use when pulling lots of different skills together.  It’s another book I use for expanding my students’ utterances.

I have also used a lot of different I Spy adapted books with my younger students.  Check out the vocabulary and skills targeted to see if the book would work for your students.  For example, I created an I Spy adapted book series which targets familiar animals that I used with my younger students.  The series includes “I Spy Animal Sounds”, “I Spy Animal Features”, and “I Spy Animal Environments”.  The student has to “spy” the correct animal to match the given description given a choice of 3 animals

I love using adapted books in therapy.  I have found them really successful for my students and enjoy seeing the students have fun reading and interacting with adapted books.  Hope this helped provide some examples of adapted book types you can use with younger students.  Check out tomorrow’s post for ideas of adapted books to use with your older students.


  1. Awesome post! Thank you so much for explaining the “why’s” behind adaptive books and which ones you like to use for the younger kiddos! Excellent post!!!

  2. Thanks for reading, Gina! 🙂

  3. Can you buy the adaptive books already made?

  4. Unfortunately, they are only available for digital download!

  5. Hello,

    Where can I download the adapted books?

  6. I loved this. It helps me alot. Ive been doing some of this but I can see where I can expand of what I have been doing.

  7. Great to hear! Thanks for reading 🙂


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