Adapting books is an innovative method to provide print access to all learners following the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. According to the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), UDL calls for “multiple means of representation, to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge; multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know; multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation”. The development of adaptive books includes the use of engaging and interactive activities that focus on creating a print rich environment to set the stage for emergent and continued literacy success. When books are adapted, they can make reading more successful and enjoyable for children. Adaptations can include making books easier to use (turning pages or holding), and text easier to read (simplified, changed) and to remember. Adapted books can encourage language development, social skills, reading, direction following, and fine motor skills. They can be used to shape reading behaviors beginning with matching picture‐to‐picture and ending with reading sentences aloud. In the world of web 2.0 tools, it is important to remember that some learners need to touch and manipulate books. Adapted books are books that can:
Click on this link to see a collection of Adapted Books Resources beginning with a unit on Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Using multimedia such as PowerPoint can circumvent some of the physical and cognitive barriers that make traditional books inaccessible. Pages can be turned automatically or through the use of the space bar or a switch. Text can be “read” via a computer voice, or a recorded one. Adapted books can be used by themselves, or with assistive technology ranging from low‐tech homemade devices to switches, voice output communication aids, Braille and large print materials, sign language, environmental control units, adapted props, and much more. If adapting a book from a published source, the Fair Use Act says that materials can be adapted for access by people with disabilities, provided certain guidelines are followed, including owning a copy of the book. Pages can be scanned, and using the Photo Album feature of PowerPoint can be quickly inserted into a slide show where animations, sounds, narrations, and timings can be added to provide additional engagement for the learner. Original stories with photos and drawings can also be created. Electronic editions provide flexibility and can break down the challenges some physical books may present.
Once completed, slides can be printed. Print copies of the stories can be embellished with textures, props, page fluffers and more. For more information on digital publishing, see digitalpublisher.wikispaces.com Help your readers spread their wings and fly...without their arms getting tired!
Check out the following resources:
Sally Norton-Darr, MS, CCC-SLP, is an assistive technology trainer for Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia as well as a nationally certified speech-language pathologist. She enjoys her work in the public schools and has fun presenting internationally, regionally, and virtually to diverse audiences on a wide range of low to high-tech strategies, interventions, and solutions. Sally is the also the co-author of the ISTE publication: The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools.
Judith Schoonover, MEd, OTR/L, ATP is an occupational therapist and former elementary school teacher. She is certified as an AT professional by RESNA and is a founding member of the Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools AT team. Judith has worked in schools for more than 35 years, publishing and presenting on the topics of school-based occupational therapy, transition, literacy, UDL, and assistive technology. She is the Vice President of the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association, and has served as the communication liaison for the American Occupational Therapy Association Early Intervention and School Special Interest Section. Judith is a member of AOTA's RtI and Transition Task Forces, and an AOTA Representative to the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC).