Adapting Books with Widgit Online Symbols

You might know I LOVE adapting books. And for good reason! Adding symbols and/or interactive pieces to books helps give students confidence and a purpose while reading.

Recently, I adapted this book B is for Breathe using Widgit Online and it was so simple! I wanted to share the steps here with you, so you can adapt books of your own. And also, I'll share the symbols for this book as well.

Using Widgit Online Software

Widgit Online is very user friendly. It is similar to other word processing software, but when you type words, symbols appear with it! You can type in a regular word-type document, or you can choose a template to get started. 

For this book, I decided to use one of the templates. I picked the custom grid and simply added symbols to the grid!
It is literally as easy as just typing in the boxes and the symbols appear! Here's a couple quick tips when using widgit online.

How to change text on a symbol: See below. I wanted the symbol to say talk about feelings but wanted the feelings symbol. So I first typed "feelings", and then went up to the symbol with cat with the green box under it. When I click that symbol, it allows me to change the text that goes with that symbol. Super easy!

How to change skin color for symbols: This button shows below allows you to change the skin color to any of the options below. And the button to the left of that one changes it from colors to black and white. 

Adapting the Book

Often I add symbol sentences to books, but for this book I decided to add symbols to each page to focus on the calm down strategy offered on each page. 

First, I printed two copies of the symbols I created in Widgit Online.
The first copy I cut apart (using a paper cutter, saves time and your fingers!) and then used packing tape* to attach each picture to the appropriate page. (*Note: For a sturdier copy of the book for heavy use or with rough students, take the book apart, glue symbols on and then laminate.)

I put the pictures in a different spot on each page and this was for two reasons. The first, so that the book would still lay somewhat flat when all the velcro and extra pieces were added (as opposed to keeping them in the same spot). Also, this way I could make sure the symbols didn't cover up much of the artwork on each page.

I added soft Velcro on top of each symbol after securing with the packing tape. And I actually cut the dots in half, because otherwise sometimes the pull can be so strong! Smaller dots would have also worked as well.

The second copy I laminated. Then I added hard Velcro to the backs and then cut apart (with my paper cutter).

That's all! Now the book is ready to use.

Using the Adapted Book

I usually just take off the symbols and place them next to the student or on a Velcro page or piece of carpet that Velcro sticks too for the students to take the pieces off while they read.

Another option would be to print a third copy of the symbol page, laminate and attach the symbol pieces to that while reading or storing!

As the student reads each page, they can match the calming strategy symbol to the each page. This is helpful because it gives the student something concrete to do on each page while reading the book, giving the book more of a purpose. 

Also, students can see how many pieces are left and know how much more of the book they have left!

I also think it would be awesome to go through and practice these strategies with your class and discuss with students which strategies they think help them the most! 

You can even keeping one of the symbol pages in your class and when students need to calm down, they can look at those options for a coping strategy.

Want to adapt your own copy of B is for Breathe?

  • Buy the book HERE (amazon affiliate link)
  • Download the symbols for free HERE

Let me know if you have any questions about adapting books!

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