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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Student Helped by Eric Carle Books

An interesting article was recently published in the Brownsville Herald about a first-grade boy with autism who became engaged in reading and other literacy activities after his teacher began using materials based on books by Eric Carle. The teacher noticed the boy loved animals and she used this knowledge to adapt the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?”. She started by reading the book to him and letting him see and play with the animals (and pictoral representations) corresponding to the pages in the book. Eventually he began picking out the animals on his own which showed his understanding of what was being read. His teacher then attempted to see if she could now use this motivating activity to teach him to use the computer which he had previously not been motivated to do. To her surprise, and pleasure, when he saw the words and pictures of the story on the screen he was immediately motivated to have the rest of the story typed on the computer.

This author of this article (the special education teacher) attributes the success to Eric Carle’s books, which is kind albeit probably inaccurate. The success this boy and teacher found is more likely attributable to the teacher understanding the pivotal nature of motivation to engagement and success. She understood the boy was interested in and motivated by animals so she incorporated this knowledge into her lessons with the student. This incorporation of interests likely increased his motivation to participate in lessons, which lead to him showing what he knows and learning new skills. This type of intervention which incorporates an individuals motivating activities into teaching is called Pivotal Response Treatment.

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