Tarheel Reader – Write Social Stories

Tarheelreader.org is a website full of free, easy to read books that are accessible via computer, tablets, touch screens, IntelliKeys and switches.

The awesome thing about this site is that you can write your very own short stories.  You may upload your own images or use the large collection from flickr.

Another great thing about tarheelreader.org is the fact that you can save the books to your computer as well as print out books as a powerpoint.  This way it can be treated like a real book.

going to the library book 

The benefit of having the stories online makes reading a bit easier for those that cannot read.  You can pick from different types of voices, though all sound a bit robotic.  Most of the time I chose the male voice because my students with Autism respond better to a lower tone voice.

speech controls

I have used this site multiple times.  From the example video below (going to the library) to preparing my kids for the dentist.  It’s a great way to help with transition as well as learning new tasks (riding a bike, using the vacuum, etc).  It can also be about topics of interest, like the image below.tarheel book example

The biggest thing I love about this site, is the fact that you can create age appropriate books.  Meaning, books can be created for an adult with special needs that may be on a 1st grade reading level.  If you think about it, there aren’t many books available that discuss high school or adult related topics at lower reading levels.

Back when I taught adults with special needs at the high school level, an english teacher had her regular education students create books for my students.  She also had her students read/present the books to my students.  There were topics about dating, going to the movies, prom, etc.  It was one of the best service learning projects I have ever done with another teacher.   Now she had students type the words/sentences and used pictures from magazines glued to paper and laminated them.  How much better it would have been if we had know about this program back then.  I think it would have been more interactive and professional for both groups of students.

If this gets you interested you’ll need to follow the steps below: login infor

I hope you’ll take the time to try it out.  Check out my example video to help prepare and guide you for your future book making.  I apologize in advance for the blurry video taping.  I’m not as tech savvy as I’d like to be.

Thanks for taking the time to watch my how-to video.  I’ll be sharing more programs and apps like this one in the coming months.




Job Skill #1 – Wrapping Utensils

There are many jobs that a person with a disability is capable of doing, but I figured lets start simple.  We can work our way up. Here is the process or steps I used when doing one of the job stations as an ESE teacher when focused on employability skills.  There will be a printable document at the end you may use.

Start by laying everything out.  This includes an empty container, utensils, napkins and the instructional steps.  I like this layout best because when the student would finish and I checked their work, they would then unroll the napkins and sort the utensils back in the organizer. As well as fold the napkins neatly or have them sort the napkins into the dirty clothes pile (whites, darks, delicates).  These are just a few ways to encourage more independent skills.  Now back to napkin rolling:

An empty tray or container to place rolled napkins, utensils available, laid out cloth napkins.
DSC_1258 (1)
I always make sure to have a picture of the way I want it so the student knows exactly what is expected

Make sure to have a variety of napkins so they are capable of dealing with differences in a comfortable setting.

Step 1: Lay out a cloth napkin on the table


Step 2. Fold the cloth napkin into a triangle (so in half)


Step 3: Place a fork, knife and spoon in the bottom, center area of the triangle


Step 4: Fold the right corner of the triangle over the utensils


Step 5: Fold the left side of the triangle over the utensils so it looks like an open envelope


Step 6: Begin to roll the covered utensils toward the tip of the triangle


Step 7: Continue to roll until all the way to the tip top


Step 8: Place completed rolled napkin onto the tray or container.

It may be a simple job but it makes the table setting look nice and it teaches students/employees the importance of good hygiene (touching utensils used by others) and to do your best because presentation is important. Some other skills it can hit include; matching, sorting, washing, drying, storage and probably a few others.

I have included a step by step printable document.  Please feel free to use it and modify it as need, but please give credit where credit is do.   Napkin rolling job skill

Thank you,


Here are a few links through amazon for cloth napkins (I do receive compensation for clicking and purchasing the items below):

Cotton Craft Dinner Napkins – Multicolor 12 Pack – Pure 100% Cotton – 20×20 Oversized – Set contains one each Magenta, Lime, Ming Red, Stone, Black, Lavender, Grape, Orange, Teal, Navy, Mustard & Leaf“>assorted colors

LinenTablecloth 17-Inch Polyester Napkins (1-Dozen) White“>White linen napkins