These pictures look like a kid checking out a book and may seem like no big deal… except it was for this student. You see, Timmy does not like books. There is always too much going on with the letters and the backgrounds of the drawings and then he has to sit and listen and try to understand the plot? No way!! He’d much rather go jump in his ball pit and ignore the teacher. Which he did to me, over and over again for several years, as I kept trying to bring literacy to him in away that would engage him in the story. Most days, I would end up sitting outside of his ball pit, reading out loud to him not knowing if he was actually understanding the story. And then, the pandemic… Like every other teacher, I had to find a way to reach 20 different students, 20 different ways. And this book, Beware of the Frog, was one solution. First, I created an audio version and posted it on YouTube for all my students. Timmy’s mom texted me…. he loved it, laughing all the way through. – Mom played it a lot-by streaming it to her TV. So, I emailed her ideas to bring it to life by giving him items from the story… like the old lady’s glasses and the suitcase. While mom worked on the story box, I set about making an customized book for Timmy… eliminating background clutter in images, removing the words and highlighting characters on high contrast black paper and so forth. These pictures tell the story of the day. Timmy and I were reunited and I gave him his customized book. With only a few cues to get started, he used this book to connect the characters on the page to those that mirrored his video and the tactile objects from the story. Timmy turned the pages, looking at the pages and following the story to the end with his audio guide.
Story told by Program Services Supervisor and instructor Diane “DC” Colburn Lighthouse of SWFL