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Benefits and Goal Setting with Adapted Novels

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At a Glance

Adapted novels emphasize accessibility to significant cultural works, another way to promote inclusion.

Adapted novels are flexible tools, and can be easily integrated across educational settings and curricula as well as aiding in teaching reading comprehension and other academic skills.

Using adapted novels promotes the development of emotional and coping skills, social skills, and self-advocacy, offering practical and safe scenarios for students to engage with and learn from.

Welcome back to our Adapted Novel series, where in part 1 we covered the basics of what constitutes an adapted novel and in part 2 we took a closer look at some adapted novel samples. 

In part 3 we are going to take a closer look at the benefits of using adapted novels and some goals that can be part of an adapted novel learning experience.

What are some benefits of using adapted novels?

Adapting a general education curriculum to a special education classroom.

One reality of operating in a special education setting is determining how much of a general education curriculum can be brought over based on the resources and accommodations you have available and the needs and goals of your students. 

Adapted novels can be an incredible tool from this standpoint as they often cover the types of literary classics that might feature in a general education curriculum and already have a number of accommodations built in. 

Whereas other components of a general education curriculum might require more adaptation on your part, finding the right adapted novel can be more a matter of finding the type of adaptation that is most appropriate to and accommodating of your students’ needs.

Fits across a variety of settings.

Adapted novels can be a helpful supplement to many different types of settings, whether a student is included in general education settings and could use some additional comprehension tools, a self contained setting but wants to mirror the general education curriculum, or is in a life skills setting and is primarily using such a work as a means of practicing reading. 

Adapted novels are often far more flexible than the original text in that they might include a variety of activities, be interactive, or include considerable background and flavor information on the setting that can be used to focus on more than just the story itself.

Easy to embed in a lesson or a curriculum.

Because adapted novels are fundamentally a tool, they can be slotted in as a supplement to existing lesson plans covering the same topic, whether it’s to get a more condensed version of the events of a given chapter in a book or using its interactive components as a supplement to a number of other activities associated with a particular novel. 

Promoting accessibility for important cultural works.

The bottom line is that adapted novels are often an accessibility tool, and it is important that we promote accessibility to all components of our society, including our important cultural works. 

While it is of course important in a school setting to be considerate of educational outcomes when working on a novel, it is also an inherent good for adapted versions of important works to be available to students who want to access them.

What kinds of goals can we set with adapted novels?

One thing worth considering when setting goals around adapted novels is which goals might be tied directly to skills that feature heavily in engaging with the novel such as reading comprehension and which skills can be practiced with the help of the setting presented by a given adapted novel.

Emotional and Coping Skills

When we set goals for students related to emotional and coping skills, it can be all too easy to focus exclusively on the settings or contexts where those skills are most needed. But one component of effective practice is a sense of safety, and stories are a safe space where we can think about the often heightened emotional states of the characters and consider how we might navigate those feelings if we were in a similar situation. One helpful goal in this regard can be for the student to reflect on how they would act or cope in various scenarios presented by the book.

Social Skills

One incredibly popular social setting that has stood the test of time is book clubs. The book serves as both an icebreaker and an anchor point, but is not always necessarily as important to the purposes of the club as the socializing itself. 

You could operate on a similar principle by starting a peer discussion group wherein students can both reflect on their evolving understanding of the story and get to know fellow students through an open ended socializing opportunity. 

If you are setting concrete goals in this regard, remember that our social goals should not bend autistic students to allistic norms but rather offer opportunities to navigate social situations in the way that they are most comfortable with.


When we think about self-advocacy we often think about the ways that we stand up for ourselves or fulfill our needs. But self-advocacy is also in part standing by the value of one’s own point of view, even when others have disagreed. 

It can be hard to practice advocating for one’s own needs in the face of resistance from a person who is supposed to be providing more support or an institution that is supposed to be more accommodating, and talking about subjective interpretations of stories can be a safe low stakes way to stand one’s ground even as another person actively disagrees. 

Goals related to self-advocacy might include asking students to share how they personally relate to characters in the story or what they think the story is about.


With that we are wrapping up another week of focusing on adapted novels but we will be back with one final part 4 to discuss some adapted novel resources. If you would like to share some benefits you have found in working on adapted novels in your classroom or if you’d like to see us cover a topic related to adapted novels more in depth then we’d love to hear from you! Just drop us a line at

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