This post originally appeared on the blog Autism Classroom Resources.

I really love interactive books because they can be used in so many different ways in the classroom. So I thought I would share with you some ideas!

There has been some discussion about what are adapted books, what are interactive books, etc. Sometimes these types of books are called one or the other. I tend to think of adapted books as ones where original books are adapted using visuals or extra text to help the reader. Interactive books are when there are pieces of a book that the students move around to keep them engaged and to demonstrate skills such as comprehension. I love both types of books but I’m going to focus on interactive books in this post. Many of these activities can apply to adapted books, too.

Here are five ways I’ve incorporated interactive books into my lessons:

5 Ways to Use Interactive Books in the Classroom

1. As a group activity

I started making interactive books many years ago as a way to generalize skills from direct instruction to group activities. I quickly found out that they were also great ways to keep students engaged in the activities of a group. Because it gives the student something active to do during the activity, they’re more likely to attend and interact. I include interactive books in my morning meeting activities because they work so well for engagement.

2. As an instructional activity

I use interactive books in 1-1 or small group lessons to work on a variety of skills. I use them to teach comprehension of the text by having the students find the pictures. I can use them to teach basic matching skills and receptive language. I also use them to increase vocabulary, so I try to use common words that the students will need to know and will come up repeatedly. I also sometimes use thematic vocabulary. With some, I can also use them for expressive language where they have to name the item rather than finding the picture. Most of my most recent books have included words and pictures to allow both differentiation and to work on reading comprehension to match words and pictures. 

3. For generalization

I mentioned this one when I talked about group activities, but simply having the students work on vocabulary and other skills with a variety of different materials promotes generalization. I include interactive books in my generalization packs for that reason so that students can practice and demonstrate the skill in a variety of situations. This makes it more likely to maintain and that it will be used in the future.

A variety of interactive books for different functions from Autism Classroom News.

4. To enhance communication

Some books include questions that the student is asked to communicate. You can work on expressive communication by having the students name items in the book or comment about something that happened in the book. You can then use the pictures or words in the book to cue communication. I’ve also used some books that have questions in them that the student is expected to answer, like this one about whether he likes hot chocolate after reading about how it is made.

An interactive book about hot chocolate in which students answer whether they like it or not with a yes-no word or picture. From 5 Ways to Use Interactive Books in the Classroom. Click to see on Autism Classroom News' TPT store.

5. With augmentative or alternative communication

I use interactive books frequently by combining them with their PECS or speech generating devices. In this picture, for instance, the teacher has the student read the page using the picture and then find the word on her talker. You can also program their device to say “turn the page” in a group activity or to answer the question like the hot chocolate example above. In addition, you can use the pictures to have the students describe what they see on the page using their talker.

Student using augmentative communication (a speech generating device) to identify vocabulary in an interactive book about Thanksgiving. From 5 Ways to Use Interactive Books in the Classroom by Autism Classroom Resources


Those are just five of the ways you can use interactive books. You can check out my winter-themed interactive books to try these ways out.

Functional Interactive Adapted Books for Winter from Autism Classroom News on TPT

Until next time,

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Autism Classroom News-Christine ReeveChristine Reeve is an author, resource creator, and special education consultant working with school districts to support students and educators. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has worked in special education for more than 25 years. Her passion is helping educators through creating quality materials, providing professional development and consultation, and developing a community of support to share ideas. Follow along with her blog Autism Classroom Resources and check out her TpT resources.