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Adaptive Lit Books
Posted on October 31, 2018, by GAPMP
-Adaptive Literature and Marietta City-
By Ashley Gellis
I can’t imagine a world without stories and books. You see, books are a very important part of my life and my children’s lives. I read to them every night when they were little and have been an avid reader most of my life. I encourage families to read with or to their children as part of family engagement. I promote GLASS – Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services. I’m always willing to give suggestions about great books for families to share! Reading is just part of my life.
I think it was 2 years ago when I first heard about Adaptive Literature. I was at the GPMP Kick Off, attending a break-out session hosted by Jackie McNair and Dawn Albanese of Gwinnett County. It was not the focus of the session, but they mentioned it and I made a note of it. It was a turning point in the way I thought about books. When I realized that students with intellectual disabilities could have access to great books, I couldn’t wait to share it with my families.
I did some research about it and found just a few things here and there. I then stumbled upon the
Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College
That was when the floodgates opened! This amazing site has hundreds of books, ready for download that are fully adapted for folks with disabilities that may prevent them from normally accessing stories or literature.
Fast forward a couple of years. Marietta City has a brand new Director of Special Education and a new Assistant Superintendent of Special Education. At our first meeting, they asked about my goals for the year. I immediately asked if we could have an adaptive literature table at Marietta Reads – the system-wide reading fair held every fall on the Marietta Square. They responded with a “yes” and we hit the ground running!
I originally asked for 50 books to adapt. Our local Zaxby’s owner gave us the funds to buy 100 books. This was incredibly exciting. A friend and teacher at the middle school asked if we could provide a novel for our older students and the extra books made that possible. We purchased 25 Corduroy, 25 The Very Busy Spider, 25 From Seed to Pumpkin, and 25 Al Capone Does My Shorts.
The next task was printing all of the pages, laminating them and adapting the books. It took hours of preparation and the combined efforts of many people in my office. I am forever grateful for the team effort and extraordinary help!
On October 27, 2018, at Marietta Reads, the Marietta City Schools Department of Special Services had our first ever Adaptive Literature table. For the first time, special education students were given free books that allowed them access to stories in books read by children in our general education classrooms.
Ashley Preece, who is a special education teacher at Park Street Elementary, provided a “tip sheet” to help parents and caregivers understand the best way to use adaptive literature with their children.
In addition to giving away nearly all 100 books to students and special education teachers, we educated the collective Marietta City Schools family about inclusion and that we are a community made up of all kinds of people.
Many families stopped by our table to understand what we were providing and went away with great information that they can share, too.
By far, though, the best part of the day was interacting with the children who were excited to be part of the festivities and who had a book adapted just for them that they could take home and enjoy.