Option #5 Choose Your Own Text


    I wrote this book, "Zoey the Zookeeper's Animal Friends", for Prof. Tom Hehir's Implementing Inclusive Education class in Fall 2014. Its purpose is to provide an introduction to animals that young children see in the zoo. The goal is to highlight similarities/differences of animals as well as each animals' individual characteristics.  

     In considering the composition of this book, I tried to incorporate principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) so that young children with different needs would have access to the text and information through multiple formats. I added the supports below and created a page layout that was user friendly with colorful pictures, captions, and sounds. 

1) Coaches- I used coaches to draw on the material in the text and ask  questions to keep the children engaged as well as assist children in thinking about comparisons of different animals. The coaches' role was to ask fun questions, engage the readers, and provide hints to some of the answers.

2) Captioned Audio and Image Information- Audio and pictures were used to enhance understanding of the text and engage the children's interests. Each page had a picture of the animal with a caption and some pages had embedded real sounds of the animal on the page. I used a particular layout that allowed me to use a large picture of the particular animal on the top page to be children/user friendly and inviting. While the audio/pictures were put in to engage all children, the audio would be especially helpful for blind children or children who have difficulty reading and the visual (pictures) would be useful for children who may be deaf, hard of hearing, or non-English speakers.

3) Text to Speech (TextHelp)- This feature allows children who have difficulty reading to have the book read aloud and visually connect the words they see on the page with the words they hear. This feature is enjoyable for all kids who like to be read to as well as accomodating new readers, struggling readers, blind children, children with poor eyesight, and dyslexic children.

4) Glossary-The glossary was used to introduce difficult words to the children reading the text. One goal of the book was to incorporate new words and build vocabulary. To increase comprehension and retention, I repeated some vocabulary terms throughout the book.

5) Spanish Translation-This feature was used to assist children who speak Spanish as well as children who want to learn Spanish. It can also help parents who speak Spanish assist in teaching and reading with their children.

6) Student Response Area-I incorporated this feature to assist children connect concepts to their own experiences or answer questions linked to the reading. This feature also would assist teachers in collecting responses in one document to be used as a further aid in designing a lesson about animals.