Free Resources for Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read

Several weeks ago, I read the book Whole Child Reading: A Quick Start Guide to Teaching Students with Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Delays. If you have a child with developmental delays, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s a fast, easy read with useful insights into how the brain works and many practical applications. The gist of the book is to go in through the heart by using stories and topics that are highly interesting and motivating to the student and then to teach to the brain by understanding how children with T21 learn best.

In the book, author Natalie Hale gives specific instructions on how to format and make your own books so that your kids can read with greater ease and success. So I began making books. I made personal books, because Junior, like most kids, likes to read about himself and his family. I also made books using words from the See and Learn Phrases kits.

Today I’m sharing some of these books:

Personal Books

Personal books are wonderful because children like to read about themselves, their families, and their own little experiences. In addition, when children are young, personal books can serve as a way to expand their speech. For example, if your child says “Play dolls,” you can expand that in writing to “I like to play dolls.”

Junior’s very first personal book was one called My Family. I took photos of everyone in the family and made picture and word flash cards for each person’s name. Using the method of matching, selecting, and naming, Junior learned to read everyone’s names. Here’s an example of what this book looked like, using stock photos:

You can download a customizable template here:

Notice that first we have a page with text only, followed by the a picture and the text repeated. This helps ensure that the child is actually reading the words and not guessing based on the picture. It also gives additional practice reading the words, and the picture serves as a reward for reading the text. I have found this lay out very effective. To customize, take pictures of all your family members an replace the ones in the template with your own. Add additional pages as needed.

I made Junior’s second personal book after he finished See and Learn Phrases 1 to give him additional practice with the words he learned in that kit. Here is a generic version of What are We Doing?

You can download a customizable template here:

Take pictures of your family members eating, drinking, washing, brushing, sleeping, and sitting. Then insert your own pictures and edit the text. Voila! You child will have another personal book!

Junior pretty much ate up these books, so I began making more and more books. Once your child has completed See and Learn Phrases 1 and 2, he/she will be ready for these books. I include flash cards in case you want to try them out without the See and Learn Kit.

If you are not sure how to use the flash cards, see my post on Teaching Preschoolers with Down Syyndrome to Read.

With these books, I printed two pages per sheet of paper and used cardstock for the front and back covers.

Sometimes, Junior has a hard time remembering a random word. For example, he still struggles with the word “dirty”. So I made him some flip books, which allows me to give him even more practice with targeted words. All of these are appropriate once your child has mastered See and Learn Phrases 1 and 2.

Here’s I Like Eating Flip Book:

Here’s The Dog is Dirty Flip Book:

Here is The Dog is Running Flip Book:

These last two flip books come with picture cards. Place two picture cards beneath the sentence; one should be a picture of the sentence. After your child reads the sentence, ask him/her to choose the picture that goes with the sentence. More instructions are included with the PDF.

Well! That’s all for now. Next post, I’ll have another free resource for teaching reading which Junior is really enjoying.

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