Students LOVE interactive books! Use that powerful tool to teach and review life skills in your classroom. Incorporate interactive books to reinforce life skills lessons throughout the school day. Interactive books hold their attention, give them hands-on opportunities, contain simple language that they can read & comprehend, offer repetition and practice …and the list goes on. I have found them to be especially helpful for reinforcing life skills.
Many of my students struggle with learning and generalizing functional life skills, so I needed to find a new way to incorporate life skills into our school day. I can increase their exposure to life skills concepts with the interactive books. Here are some ways I use them to reinforce life skills.
Use interactive books as presets for lifeskills
Have students read life skills interactive books before they practice a life skill such as washing hands, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, doing the dishes, etc. Interactive books are a fun & engaging way to review the steps or concepts before the student is expected to complete a skill or activity. For example, we read this handwashing interactive book before a student is asked to wash their hands if the student was still working on washing their hands correctly.
Interactive books are also a great way to introduce a new life skill. For example, read an interactive book about setting the table with a student before asking them to complete the task for the first time.
Break down the steps and information in an easy to understand manner with interactive books. Students will better understand the task & what they need to do by using the visuals from the book first.
Interactive books to target social skills
Interactive books can also be used as a social story with students who are struggling with a specific skill. For example, before going out into the community, we would read this book about going to a restaurant. Being able to anticipate what to expect, what they will see and do is very helpful in calming anxiety and related behaviors.
review life skills with interactive book tasks
Use interactive books that target life skills in task bins or boxes to build in more repetition of the skills. It’s easy to choose life skills interactive books that fit students’ individual needs and skill levels.
They are great independent activities that also reinforce ideas and concepts while building positive interactions with text. So, you might not be able to take your students to the grocery store to give them hands-on life experiences, but you can have them complete an interactive book all about grocery shopping, what you do there, what is expected there, how to pay, etc. Interactive books are a perfect way to reinforce knowledge they have been exposed to in a fun, engaging way.
introduce & build vocabulary for life skills
Using interactive books at the beginning of a life skills based group activates prior knowledge and introduces vocabulary & concepts. For example, before cooking group, we read an interactive book about cooking tools to remind students of the vocabulary they’ll need for the lesson.
combine sensory and life skills interactive books
Another way to build in more review is to add life skills books into sensory tasks students are already doing. This gives the student another opportunity to see and hear the information and reinforce the skills without having to remove other activities from the schedule. Here are some examples of how to combine sensory and interactive books:
- Sensory bin: Hide the pictures from the book in a sensory bin for students to search for as you read the books.
- Gross motor movements: Put the pictures on one side of the classroom and as you read each page, have students take turns moving their bodies in a given way (ex: skip, bear walk, crawl, hop, etc) to go find the correct picture and bring it back to attach to the book.
- Scooter: Put the pictures on one side of the classroom and the book on the other side. Have students lay on down on the scooter and complete the book.
- Obstacle courses: Move through an obstacle course collecting the life skills interactive book pictures as they go.
Our students need a lot of exposure and practice with life skills in order to truly master them. There are so many life skills that you can reinforce by using interactive books with your students. Leave the interactive books that teach and review life skills on your classroom bookshelf for students to read throughout the day.
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