The Read, Play, and Learn!® curriculum affords teachers the flexibility to modify activities for individual children at each of the three levels of learning:

Once a teacher has determined a child’s current level of learning (the Teacher’s Guide shows how), he or she can determine which modifications a child may need to the recommended activities for his or her level. Since the goal of the curriculum is to help children progress to higher levels of learning while feeling supported and secure, Read, Play, and Learn!® ensures that children will always be challenged at a level appropriate for their abilities and feel successful in the classroom.

Each story module provides modifications and adaptations for activities so that teachers can meet the needs of children at each of the levels. There are also suggestions for further modifications within each level, if necessary. Because children at different learning levels can participate in activities together, all of them will have the opportunity to interact fully with their peers.


Goal: listen to the story, acquire new concepts and words, and begin to associate objects with illustrations and spoken words

Children at the sensorimotor level are primarily concerned with object exploration. They learn by physically manipulating their environments. The Read, Play, and Learn!® Teacher’s Guide encourages teachers, when reading a story, to give children actual items from the story’s pictures (to be used as props), because children at this level may not be interested in the pictures themselves.

In the Dramatic Play Area, children at the sensorimotor level may not be involved in the acting out of the story, but can have a meaningful experience nonetheless. They can explore props with their hands and imitate their peers. As they manipulate the props, they learn about each object’s characteristics, labeling, and problem solving. Their participation also allows them to be socially involved with their peers while learning about their world.


Goal: understand the story, link ideas and concepts together in a sequence, and recall characters and events in the story

Children at this level will benefit from the exploratory activities offered to children at the sensorimotor level, and they can also move a step beyond and begin to connect actions across pictures. After several days of reading the same story, the teacher should begin to leave out key phrases. Children at the functional level can help fill in the blanks by labeling the actions shown in the pictures.

In the Dramatic Play Area, children at this level can act out a sequence of actions in addition to manipulating props. The Teacher’s Guide encourages teachers to increase the number of actions that children can link together in a sequence. While these children may not be able to describe actions with words or phrases, they can label objects, actions, and feelings. They can also begin to understand the role of literacy props, such as charts, pads, and pencils.


Goal: comprehend the story sequence, make predictions, draw inferences, and retell the story

Children at this level are interested in the story sequence and the printed word. They can start reading the book to their classmates by using the illustrations, combining phrases with the pictures. Curriculum activities encourage these children to use higher-level reasoning, problem solve, and make evaluations and judgments. Teachers can use books to help children explore emotional conflicts, fears, or troubling events in their lives. “The Kissing Hand” and “Friends” are two examples of Read, Play, and Learn™ storybooks that help children relate to and talk about difficult issues (going to school for the first time or working out friendships).

In the Dramatic Play Area, children at the symbolic level can imagine and act out roles and story sequences. Teachers can challenge their memory and conceptual skills by having them reenact the story, elaborate, and problem solve. By adding writing materials and other literacy props and using written labels on objects or cue cards, teachers can promote pre-literacy skills among these children.

Adaptations at Work

In “The Knight and the Dragon,” when the children are working in the Science and Math Center, children at the sensorimotor level can explore the seeds and vegetables used to make hanging baskets. When the class builds a moat, children at this level can help place pictures of the moat’s fish and animals around the structure. Teachers can help these students expand their vocabulary by helping them identify the pictures of animals and vegetables used in the activities.

Children at the functional level can go a step further and learn to distinguish characteristics of the animals in the pictures. They can also understand the concept of heaviness and understand the connection between the activity’s scales and measuring weight.

Children at the symbolic level can classify the different types of animals and objects and group them by function. They can calculate how many dragon scales fill up designated spaces and what fish in the moat will eat. They can estimate which objects are heavier when given examples (books vs. clothing). Teachers can also challenge them by asking them to describe what they think it would be like to live in a castle.

To see examples of modifications for each classroom center, see Explore a Day of RPL!

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