Just how important are emerging reader books, especially books about the student? Creating books about things the student is interested in or things the student has done is a wonderful motivator! Students love to hear and/or read stories about things they know and about themselves. These books are ‘read’ over and over again, bringing delight to the student and family members alike! Andrea is a TVI who has been created accessible digital books for her students for many years (many of these books are available in the Paths to Technology Book Library!). Here is what Andrea said about the books she has created and for her student, Addy and how these books are used in the classroom and at home:
The two instrument books were created last spring because her class was learning about music and instruments. Since Addy loves drums, I created a digital book focusing on her interest. Books are often created based on students interest, family activities, or themes in the preschool classroom. Last year, as well as this year, I printed several of the ebooks and added braille labels for Addy to practice reading the braille contractions she is learning with the PreK Building on Patterns braille curriculum. For example, as alphabetic word signs such as “have”, “can”, “go”, and “like” are introduced, I add them to digital books or braille books with tactile images for Addy to practice reading. The books are placed in her bookbox to read when all children look at books independently or to share with her class. After they are at school several weeks, they are sent home for Addy to keep and read at home with her family. Books that have been made include the following contractions Addy has learned to read or tactually discriminate such as “I”, “a”, “like”, “go”, “can”, “have”, and “you”. When she learned to read the letter “l” and “like”, we made a book about everything Addy liked. Addy loves going to the zoo, so we made a book that included the sentence “I see the (type of animal).” Addy and her family are very active, so when she learned the letter “g” and the contraction “go”, we made a books about all the places Addy goes. Each page had the sentences “I go (name of the place or activity).
Jessie, Addy’s mom, is thrilled with the customized books and how Addy adores these books. Here is what Jessie shared:
Addy loves books of all kinds. We call her ebooks the “Ms. Andrea books”. They are great if you have a few minutes and want to have fun, secretly practice AT skills, and talk about the memories we have from the book. The books are also nice to have on long car drives. It’s something that is educational, enjoyable, and helps pass time.
Books are chosen based on life events and Addy’s interests. For example, Addy enjoys music and wants to learn to play the drums and piano. We went on a family vacation to Shenandoah this summer. Andrea and Addy are working on a white cane book and a book about the Perkins Walk.
Addy is proud of her work and loves to show family what she has done. She especially likes to show her younger sister and help teach her how to use the ebook.
Personally, I love when Andrea emails me a new ebook. I get just as excited as Addy because it’s a book about my child or something she loves.
Fall is a wonderful time to create customized experience books! Students are going to pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, dressing up to trick-or-treat and spending time outside with the falling leaves and making so-mores around the campfire. Just around the corner are holidays and many families will be taking trips to visit relatives and doing holiday-related activities. If possible, ask parents to share pictures about their family activities and have the student dictate sentences about what they did. When creating digital books, the student can record his/her own voice retelling things about the event. If family pictures are not available, find related pictures online (Example: Pumpkin patch, pumpkin seeds, carved pumpkins).
Addy and her family went to the Shendadoah National Park last summer; Jessie shared her family photos with Andrea. Andrea created a digital book Addy recorded her story.
Shenandoah National Park Vacation epub available here.
By Diane Brauner