Using Adapted Books in the Special Education Classroom
using adapted books in the special education classroom

What are adapted books?

Adapted books are modified, interactive books that make it easier for students with special needs to use. They are also extremely engaging for students with and without disabilities!


Why Should I use them?

Adapted books target so many different critical language skills. Sometimes,  I would find my speech pathologist stealing my adapted books throughout the week. HAHAHA

All adapted books vary in skill level.   I find that using adapted books that are repetitive helps with content retention and increases student engagement and participation. Typically the language that is used is simple and easier to comprehend.  Adaptive books also work on social skills, fine motor skills, language skills, matching skills, critical thinking skills,  problem-solving skills and so much more!


How can I use these in my own classroom?

There are so many different ways that you can use adapted books in your classroom.   I just want to give you a few ways that you can start right away.

  • homework
  • independent centers
  • morning work
  • early finishers
  • 1:1 instruction
  • small group instruction
  • whole group instruction
  • working on IEP goals


Let me try and explain how I set each of these up in my classroom and give you some suggestions. 


black and white version of the adapted book

You can print out the black and white version of the adapted book to send home to practice.  You can also send home the printed and laminated version as well.  I dont do that unless I really trust the family to return it back to me.  You can also print the black and white version of the book 2 per a page to create a mini book!

Independent Center:

independent work center station

You can place any of the versions of the adapted books in this center for independent practice.  Remember, anything that goes into the independent center the student should be able to complete all by themselves with 100% accuracy.  So after my kids work on a specific book all week (or all month depending on when they master it) then I would throw it into their independent work center. 

Morning Work:

morning work bin with adapted books in them

This is a great way for students to come in, in the morning and get ready for the day.  You can have a bin of different adapted books that they can choose from in the morning to complete to settle into the day. 

Early finishers

early finishers bin with adapted books

For those kids who finish things early, you can have them choose adapted books from the classroom library.  As we go through the year introducing new adapted books, all the ones that we complete I add to our classroom library.  This way they can enjoy them again and again.  This practices fluency and increases retention. 

1:1 instruction

1:1 instruction is how I use adaptive books most of the time.  I will introduce a new skill to them in a one-on-one instructional setting or I will have my teaching assistant work with them on a skill using a specified adapted book.

Introducing an adapted book in a one-to-one setting increases their success rate and engagement rate by a lot. For the kids who need a lot of practice, I will often work on the same adapted book throughout the week.

Small Group Instruction

Sometimes in my reading groups, I would have different ability-level students in the same group. The way I differentiate instruction is by giving each student a different version of the same adapted book. One student would have a black and white copy of the adapted book, another student would have the full-large adapted book version because maybe they had vision difficulties, and maybe another student would have the smaller version of the laminated version of the adapted book.

This method helps with inclusion,  group participation, and social skills. Sometimes I would meet with students who needed more time to learn the skills before the reading group and let them practice the story before we would meet.

Whole Group Instruction:

If you have a large class this necessarily wouldn't be the best option for you unless you are using the digital version of the Adapted book.  Most of the Adapted books out there won't include an additional digital resource for you.  However,  each of my adapted books is in digital form via a Boom Card. For a whole group lesson, I would introduce the story in the Boom Card version first.  The Boom Card is read to the students out loud and you can choose which students to come up and select the answer. So if you have a smartboard, introducing the Adapted book in the boom card version would be a fun way to start the lesson or even end the lesson.

If you'd like to try a free Boom Card to see what I'm talking about click here

IEP goals


There are so many different IEP goals that you can target using adapted books.  Most of my students have some sort of comprehension goal and using Adapted books allows me to grab really good data on a wweekly basis. 

Where can I find adapted books?

There are so many people out there creating adapted books. However, I am the only one (that I have found) that includes more than just the adapted book in the resource.


In each of my adapted books, I include things to go with these books to make a comprehensive unit, so that you don't have to scour the internet looking for things to pair with any adapted books.   For example, a running record, assessments, vocabulary card, cut and paste worksheets, and MORE! 

  • lesson outline with suggested state standards
  • adapted book (a guide on how to assemble too)
  • 5 graphic organizers (3 versions of a bubble map, sorting chart cut and paste, KWL chart, Venn Diagram)
  • 2 different versions of vocabulary cards
  • high-frequency flashcards
  • Assessments including a running record form, a reading comprehension with visual aid cards, reading comprehension with pictures, and another with just words
  • 4 writing prompts (some have word banks for special kids and illustration page)
  • black and white versions to print and color and send home
  • Boom Card deck
  • a large version of the adapted book


These are all things that I used to search the internet looking for something to expand on adapted books.   This is why I created so many adapted book units. I have over 60 units currently in my tpt store that are different themes and touch on science and social studies topics. 

To save money I have bundled all of my comprehensive, adapted book units here!



If you are looking for a FREE ADAPTED BOOK UNIT to start with,  click HERE!

If you want to pin this post to read later click HERE!

I am a High School, self-contained Autism teacher from Central New York, who is passionate about individualizing student learning. I am a mommy of three, lover of all things Disney, married to my best friend and addicted to chocolate!! I hope that you find great ideas and inspiration here, so welcome!!

REcent Posts


You Might Also Like...

Leave a Reply


Task Box Shop


Task Box Shop_Level

Shipping Note:

Physical boxes will be shipped out on the first week of each month.  If you purchase on the 2nd, your first box will not arrive until the next month.  I.e. If you start your subscription January 15, your first box will arrive in February.

All subscriptions will receive immediate access to digital files.  


Subscriptions are set to renew on the 1st of each month unless you opt for the annual plan.







Adapted Resources

Adapted Resources

Seasonal & Holiday

Life Skills

Life Skills