Modified Text

Simplified Text, Adapted Text

UDL 1.1 UDL 5.3

Modified Texts are grade level reading passages that have been simplified both in language, length, and complexity to meet the instructional level needs of a reader. Modifications can involve altering the reading level of the text, summarizing the text using simpler terms, as well as adding images to add context and relevance. While adapted texts change *how* a student accesses reading material (e.g. Braille, enlarged text, less sentences per page), Modified Texts make adjustments to *what* is actually being read (e.g. simplified vocabulary, shortened passages, less complex sentences).

Ready-to-Use Resources


Illustrated Picture Book

Use this template to create personalized illustrated picture books. Included is a 8-page example of an adaptation of the story 'All By Myself' by Gabrial Harper and a blank template to create your own.

Grade K, 1, 2 · English Language Arts, Reading · 9 pages

Implementation Tips

Readability of a Text
Check the readability of a text (i.e. the grade level) before simplifying. There are various free, online readability scorers including [[|]] and [[|Lexile Analyzer]]. Follow [[|these instructions]] to use Microsoft Word to determine readability using the Flesch-Kincaid framework.
Simplify Language
Identify challenging words in the text and replace them with simpler language before assigning a reading passage. Use a thesaurus or an online program to help simplify language. For example, copy/paste text into a free program such as [[|Rewordify]] to automatically replace challenging words with simpler ones.
Tarheel Reader Modified Texts
Simplify the language of an excerpt of a grade-level text and further modify the text by adding pictures. Visit [[|Tarheel Reader]] to access modified texts used by Dynamic Learning Maps or to create your own modified text.
Summarize Long Texts
Use the executive summary feature in Microsoft Word to create summaries of long, digital texts (e.g. online articles, digital books). Copy and paste the text in Microsoft Word and choose the percentage of the original text to keep in the summary. Follow [[|these directions]] to enable this function.
Create Online Books
Use CAST's UDL [[ | Book Builder ]] to access modified texts written by educators or to create your own. It is free to use, includes the ability to add images, and includes animated characters to "coach" students when reading. The books are accessible online, so that studens can use electronic devices for reading to access modified texts.
Pre-Annotate Text
Highlight and annotate a pre-printed text when it is not possible to modify a text in advance. Highlight only the sentences the student is expected to read, circle challenging words and write a simpler word next to it in the margins.
Selectively Excerpt a Reading Passage
Select information from the text that covers tangible concepts and that be easily represented with an accompanying image or real object.
Use Familiar Icons and Imagery
Accompany texts with icons and illustrations that are already familiar to the student. For emerging readers, use images of words in sign language or picture icons that used in the daily communication system. Check out [[|this example]] of modified version of *Catcher in the Rye*.


Using Technology to Modify Text
A middle school science teacher decides to have students read a blog about photosynthesis and runs the text through a readability program. The teacher realizes the text is above the students' instructional reading level and some of the words used are too challenging and are not necessary for understanding the target content. The teacher decides to modify the text by copying and pasting it into an online text simplifier (e.g., Rewordify). The teacher then prints copies of the simplified text and gives it to the students to read in small groups.
Modifying a Fictional Reading Passage
A general education teacher has chosen a grade-level fictional text to read for the next unit, but wants to ensure the text is accessible to the students who are non-verbal and use picture communication systems to learn and engage with content in class. The teacher collaborates with a special education teacher to create a modified version of the text, simplifying the text by writing one sentence for each major, concrete event that occurs in each chapter (e.g. places the characters go, actions the characters take). The teacher then types each sentence onto a page in Microsoft Word and adds a picture, then prints and staples the sheets together. The student works with a peer or another adult in the class to follow along using the modified text.
Pre-Highlighting a Complex Text
A history teacher decides to assign a magazine article about the first major battle of the Revolutionary War that is 500 words in length, but knows that some students will struggle with the complex language. Because the teacher only has a printed copy of the article and a digital one is not available, the text cannot be easily modified using an online program. The teacher decides to highlight the ten most important sentences and phrases in the text, and circles the challenging words. Before assigning the reading, the teacher provides students using the modified text a small word bank containing the challenging words paired with a simpler synonym that the students can use as a reference while reading the text independently.

Related Strategies