Today’s adapted book focuses on summarizing chapters. Many individuals with autism have challenges synthesizing information. This can be even more difficult when there is a lot of text. Many individuals with autism are more tree than forest thinkers – which means that they often are better with details than the big picture.
Often when students with autism are asked to summarize or synthesize information from text they repeat some facts or direct sentences from what they read. After reading a chapter or a whole book it can be difficult to give an overview. Many of these challenges may be related to expressive communication difficulties. Another difficulty may be a lack of meaning behind the concept of summarizing. Students with autism may lack the cognitive concept of what it means to summarize.
To help students learn the concept of synthesizing text and to compensate for their expressive communication challenges, we create this adapted book. We used “Frog and Toad All Year” by Arnold Lobel.
To create the book, we printed out a worksheet page with a place to summarize all the chapters in the book.
We then printed out the summaries of each page.
This is definitely an activity that can be scaffolded, in that students could eventually write their own summaries. But to get started, we provide them to teach the concept. We then cut out the chapter numbers and glued them to the worksheet.
To engage with book, students will read chapter by chapter. At the end of each chapter, the student will find the one sentence summary of the book and glue it into the correct chapter number. Student will read the entire book (but maybe not on the same day, depending on their attention span) and match all the summaries.
In the middle of the worksheet there is a place to put the main idea of the entire book. It is a different shape than the rest of the summaries to provide a distinction between chapters and the whole book.
Students can keep these summaries with the books, or in a file. For some students we have used the main ideas from books as the basis for social stories! Early reader chapter books are the best type of books for this activity.