Making It Work: 3 Steps for Using Adapted Books and Play



Did you leave my last post about combining books with play thinking, “Those are great ideas, but how do I do that?”  Then this post is for you!

Step 1: Choose a theme!

Having a picnic is the theme I’ll be using since it is lots of fun and has so many options. Themes allow you to :

      • Make groups work when you have to switch your groups around for make-up sessions.

      •  Coordinate with the theme being used in a pre-K or K classroom.

      • Get out a limited set of toys, books and craft activities for the time you are using the theme.

• Start collecting fun toys and activities to expand your theme for next year.

Step 2: Choose and adapt a book!

There are so many choices!

⁃ Start by looking at what you already have around or can get inexpensively. Planning ahead and looking at the Scholastic Book club choices can be a good way to go, so parents can get the same book for home carryover!

⁃ Often it is good to have a higher level book and a lower level one for your theme, so you can meet most of the goals you are working on and have a cohesive set of follow-up activities for everyone.

⁃ Look at the pictures in the book. Does the text talk about what is happening in the picture or can you adapt the text easily so that they match? Our students need to have this visual matching support to make sense of the language in the text.

⁃ Adapt the book so that your lower level students can fill in the vocabulary words while your higher level students can complete the sentences. This can be done easily if you have more than one place with a blank Velcro spot to add the missing symbols. Just choose which set of symbols to remove depending on the needs of each student or group.


Step 3: Choose your follow-up activities!

You want these activities to reinforce the language and concepts for the theme and the book. Best practice would have you read the entire book first before you focus on sections of it for skill building.

- Start with the object vocabulary. 
Find toys or bring in the real items to elicit the labels. How about a picnic basket filled with the items you are talking about? Students can take turns putting their hand in the basket without peeking and pull out an item to label.

- Re-enact the plot sequence by doing the activity. 
This is a great way to reinforce the object labels and introduce the verbs. If your students can handle it, go outside to an enclosed area and have a picnic with their favorite snack and drink. 

Do you have runners? Then have a picnic on your therapy room floor with the door closed. Still won’t work? Put a plastic tablecloth or red bulletin board paper over your table and have your picnic there while your student is in the accustomed seating.

- Now that your students have some experience with a picnic, go back to your adapted  book and see how successful they are at completing it. Note their errors to choose which follow up activities to use:

* Play having a picnic with toys.
* Do a craft to make/decorate/color the vocabulary items.
* Play a game with pictures of the activities involved in the theme.
* Watch a You-tube video associated with the theme.
* Use an interactive activity on your iPad for the theme. BOOM Cards are great for this!
* Make flip book activity for forming sentences.
* Adapt a picture worksheet to make an interactive activity, or have your higher level students just complete the worksheet.
* Have students fill in more of the symbols in your adapted book, or use additional books to expand their language for the theme.


Here are some picnic theme ideas to check out:

Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!

Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!
Try these 3 steps that work from Looks Like Language for using adapted books and play!
3 steps for using adapted books and play in therapy from Looks Like Language@

Enjoy! Linda

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