Submitted by: Marjorie Martinez
In recent years I have adapted children's literature, especially fairy tales and nursery
rhymes. One resource book I've found is 100% Story Writing from Lingui-Systems. Two of my
favorites are The Troll and Humpty's Fall. These correspond easily with Three Billy Goats Gruff and
Humpty Dumpty. The stories are quite appropriate
for 4th and 5th graders, though my middle school students have been known to have fun with this
too. Once they see some connection between the two and have some control over their writing, they
find it not so "babyish".
We begin by sharing the reading of The Troll and generating ideas of how this story may be similar to
any stories they've heard before. Once this has been established, we discuss
differences-characters, settings, problems, solutions. This is done in written form. Some
students enjoy drawing this part. An outline is typed where students
answer questions and/or generate their own ideas. After finishing, they edit and revise,
check for spelling, grammar and word order/sequencing, and their use of related vocabulary. We
incorporate this into story frames. Children are reminded of their speech and language
goals/objectives and how our activity relates to their progress in the program. At the beginning of
the year, students write individual objectives with their main goal being "able to write and speak
for a variety of purposes to diverse audiences and settings".
A fun project done in association with this is to write a dialog for a play student groups
create. We emphasize turn-taking skills. The students are the characters in the story.
One time a group I had added more billy goats to correspond with the number of children in their
group. The end product was entitled "The Three Billy Goats
and Two Trolls". It was even more fun when the school I worked at actually had a small
walking bridge outside. We were able to act out our parts outside!
Other books we have completed units on are- Cinderella, using the book Dinorella by Pamela Duncan
Little Red Riding Hood, using Red Riding Hood adapted by Anna McLeay The Three Little Pigs, using Yo,
Hungry Wolf, a Nursery Rap, by David Vozar Bruce Lansky has edited a book entitled Newfangled Fairy
Tales-Classic Stories with a Funny Twist, as has Nick Ward with his, A Wolf at the Door. I also
recommend If The Shoe Fits by Alison Jackson and Goldilocks Has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealey. These
books incorporate many nursery rhymes into one story-line where children can, at the end, compare and
contrast familiar, or some not so familiar, tales of long ago. I'm finding that many children are
not as acquainted with the classics I grew up with.
The A-Z of Adapting Books is a 28 page online booklet.
I have many books that I have adapted myself and/or
downloaded from websites. One that I use quite a bit is Where is Spot? I adapted this myself
using Writing With Symbols 2000 and Boardmaker symbols. I simply added the WWS symbols to the text
and made icons for each animal in the story along with yes/no icons. As the story goes Spot's
mother is looking for him in various places. I love this book for Pre-K up to even 1st grade for
children with cognitive delays. With the adapted version we can focus on "who",
"where" (locative concepts) and yes/no questions. While reading the book, I incorporate
these goals into the activity. For example as the story goes "Is he under the bed"
we open the flap and there is a Lion so I place the yes/no symbols out and have the child choose (or even
use a programmed AAC device for the book). Then I ask "who" is under the bed and the
child has a choice of 2 to more animal icons to chose from by placing it on the velcro strip to
manipulate print or activating the AAC device. My kids really love this book and using the adapted
version has helped with emergent literacy as well as using low and mid tech AAC forms of communication to
answer questions about literature.
Submitted by Cathy Chapman
There is a software program named Picture It. The overall idea
for this software program is this: type the text you want using the program, a command key called
'parse the text' then goes through and adds graphics to the sentences. Print the story for the
students, after they've had practice with words and pictures, the teacher can go back into the program
and slowly begin to eliminate pictures (a few at a time). Each time the student can read the story,
there should be less pictures and more text. Soon, the student is reading with text and is very
proud of him/herself and so is the teacher.
I use Boardmaker to help read simple books for
non-readers. I take each predictable book or repeatable lines in books and write them out using
Boardmaker graphics with words. Soon the students are taking the books and reading with the
If you know Intellitools and Intellipics; they are great tools for
adapting books and for having older students/grades create their own. Scanners will import pictures
from books into Intellipics to have better graphics, but writing and voice can be done by the
teacher. It's a great way for those students who have reading difficulties and those students who
are non-verbal, or even perhaps those students with physical handicaps - to read and turn pages with the
help of technology. Intellitools also has an activity exchange website for teachers and therapists
to exchange activities already made. You don't have to re-invent the wheel and you have tons of
ideas to share. As you become a pro at handling Intellitools - you can begin to teach students to
write papers and short stories using this very adaptable software. Read more about sharing, free
activities and players and ordering their products at www.intellitools.com.
Submitted by Carol Suddath
Overhead Masters can be made of the text and illustrations in
books. These can be projected for group reading, including the "bouncing - ball" process
of indicating which word is read and also the process of highlighting difficult words. The
illustrations can be projected against a large white screen or wall and then be used as "sets"
for acting out the story.
Age: All ages
Motivating Factors: Children enjoy the "big screen" effect and love to be
part of the play. Think of the hand shapes children love to make with
overhead and movie projections and you can imagine how they will love
this. Students love to "point" to the words.
Access to Materials: Cost is relatively minor and black and white
overheads can be colored with vis-a-vis or highlighters. Older students
may enjoy having prop control by actually moving the transparencies. This
also allows for masking lines so students focus on certain lines.
Flexibility: Most appropriate for reading groups and does require a blank
wall or screen, but can be used in most settings that can dim the lights.
Submitted by Diane Lind
I like to make book reading a multi-sensory activity for my
preschoolers. One example is based on a book called "By the
Seashore" by Maurice Pledger. This book goes through many things found by the seashore.
It is wonderful for descriptor word meaning and the children are encouraged to feel the meaning of each
word by passing objects that allow depict this. Some examples from this book include:
"spongy" - pass around a sponge
"prickly" - the harder side of velcro
"scratchy" - sandpaper
"leathery" - a piece of leather
"furry" - craft fur
Submitted by Tracey Devney
I ordered a free set of books that I can't wait to use with my students. I
ordered them from www.starfall.com. I thought-- hey,
they're free. I'll try anything. After receiving the books, I discovered that online, there
are videos, games, and interactive books that go along with the reading books.
I would encourage others to try them out.
Submitted by Julie Mabel
Here is what I do with some students who have difficulty with comprehension,
memory, or sentence structure/sequential expression of stories: I fold a piece of plain paper into
4-8 boxes. While I (or we together) read the selection, I stop after each key event and have the student
use a pencil to quickly sketch that part in the next box in the sequence. I usually have him/her
first orally tell me what (s)he will draw in the box to depict the event and I lead the student to
include the important elements. I always emphasize drawing quickly, with stick figures, and that it
is not an art lesson. We move along in order until the entire story has been drawn in the boxes. I
also have him/her draw an arrow between boxes to indicate the direction of the sequence. After all
is drawn, I ask the child to retell the story using his/her drawings as visual cues. As the child
dictates the story, I write his/her sentence(s) under the picture in each box. With groups of 2-3 kids, I
have each alternately tell the other child what to draw (expressive practice), or draw what the other
child has directed (receptive practice). You could either have one paper to pass around, so that
you end up with one group paper, or you could have each child draw on his/her own paper. If there
is just one group paper, I copy the page and send the copies home with the kids to retell the story with
their families. This activity has been really successful and enjoyable for all who have