How to Adapt Books for Your Child!

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Reading books to our children is a  fun and important tradition.  There are so many wonderful children's books at the local library however; I often find that books can be too wordy, not wordy enough, too simple or too complex for the kids I work with.  Some children may have difficulty processing a lot of information while other children may memorize the pages of books and retell without flexibility.  Other kids may need higher level information and explanantions.  As parents, we know how important it is for our children to answer "what", "who", "where", "why" and "when" questions.  Sometimes however, we forget that is equally, if not MORE important for our child to tell us about the story on their own, add information to a book and talk about/reflect upon their experiences based on the topic.  

By adapting books we can alter the content, build on themes and concepts to add interest and participation.  We can expand on books and break away from reading the exact wording on the pages.  We can make the book come ALIVE.

The other day I was in a classroom working with a preschooler.  The teacher gathered all of the children for storytime on the rug.  The book she chose was was a pop-up book about ocean animals.  The student I was working with had difficulty answering the teacher's questions about the book because other students had a more rapid response and understanding of language.  He missed a lot of information and he in turn became overwhelmed and started to shut down.  For this reason, I adapted this book for him and presented it to him in a different way while we were in a 1:1 scenario.   

For this quick project I took photos of each page, printed them out and made the child a book of his own.  On each page I wrote down different questions and observations for the parent to think about when telling the story.  I also added a picture of his teacher reading this book to help him recall the book from circle time.  This child had such a wonderful time reading his own adapted book because he now had the time to understand various concepts that were being taught in his classroom. He answererd many of the questions, even open ended ones because of theses modifications.  He then took the book home to share with his family during storytime.  Here are some of the pages.

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Books can be adapted in many other ways. You can change names of characters to familiar people, simplify information, use movmement, photocopty pictures on each page, laminate and velcro object vocabulary for matching etc.  These modifications can provide your child with a positive experience and a real love for literacy.   

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