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Free Social Stories For School

Updated on March 6, 2017
Use social stories to help students learn important concepts.
Use social stories to help students learn important concepts.

Social Stories

Jonnie's teacher was walking (almost dragging) him by the hand to my classroom. He looked as if he were about to cry. A student in his class line was crying and I could see red marks across her face.

"He did it again! He just scratched Maddie across the face! He needs to go to your recovery!" his frustrated teacher told me. I knew it was time to get the books out again.

The books I went to get were handmade books of social stories. Social stories are stories that teachers can write (or find on the internet) to teach a concept to children with autism, language disorders or other special needs. They are not that difficult to make and can make a world of difference.

In this case, I got out my "We Do Not Hurt Our Friends" book and read the simplistic story that I had created to Jonnie. Jonnie was a second grader with autistic tendencies. He hadn't been officially diagnosed with autism, but had many of the symptoms, including a lack of social skills. While reading the story, I explained to Jonnie why it was not nice to hurt a friend.

The story featured a little boy that looked like Jonnie, dark hair, brown eyes and wearing a shirt that was similar to Jonnie's favorite shirt. I did this so that Jonnie would identify with the little boy in the story. The story also featured teachers that looked like his teacher and the little girl he couldn't seem to stop hurting.

After we read the story, we discussed it. Jonnie could tell me that it wasn't nice to hurt his friend. He could tell me that he needed to say "I'm sorry" to his little friend. He told me that he wouldn't hurt her again.

Social stories help students to understand abstract ideas like caring about friends. They can teach them that they should walk in the halls, or stay seated on the bus. They can give the steps they need to follow to get work done and turn it in. A social story can teach just about any concept that your special child needs.

It's fairly easy to write a social story. You can use a program like Boardmaker or Microsoft Publisher. Find a website, such as or something similar, that has pictures of children. Find a picture that resembles the child who needs the lesson. Also find pictures of the concept you want to teach. If you want to teach about riding the bus, find pictures of a bus. If you are really creative you can take pictures of the student in question and what you want him or her to learn about.

After you have your pictures, write your story. Make it simple. Simple sentences that are easy to understand. For example: "It is not nice to hurt friends." or "I walk quietly in the hall." If your students are able to read, make the sentences with words they know so they can read it by themselves.

When I make social stories, I usually print it on cardstock and then laminate the pages. I usually make each page about 4" by 5.5" or half of a regular size paper. Then I bind the book, either with binder rings, string, yarn or brads. I want the book to last as long as possible.

The students usually like the books. They often want to read them when they have free time to read. It takes many times of reading the book to the students before the concept sinks in. Don't give up if the student doesn't get it the first time, just keep it up. Before long, the students will be reciting the book from memory. Soon after, it may finally sink in.


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    • carozy profile image

      carozy 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Found this interesting and useful. I have a friend who has worked with autistic kids and she might be interested in this so I'll pass it along.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      What a great idea, you obviously have great wisdom in working with autistic kids, your passion is very evident. Thanks for the info! I'm fortunate to have two healthy kids, but this info can certainly help so many others. voted Up!

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Thank you for writing this hub about social stories! As a preschool teacher for many years, the use of custom made social stories has made a huge difference in the lives of many children! I hope more teachers and parents will utilize them because of your hub! Good luck and God Bless! Voted up, useful and interesting!