Skip to content
Graduate student project

Adapting “Winnie the Pooh! Oh, Bother Someone is Messy!” for Students with Visual Impairments

Ideas to adapt "Winnie the Pooh! Oh, Bother Someone is Messy!" for students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities

As part of the graduate coursework for Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities in the Teacher Preparation Program in Visual Impairments at the University of Kentucky, students were asked to complete four projects: a Story Box with at least 10 objects that correspond to the story, picture communication symbols and tactile communication symbols designed to go along with the story, and a talking book to go along with the story or represent  concepts from the story.

We are sharing them on Paths to Literacy and hope that others will use them!  

For my project I chose to use the book, Winnie the Pooh! Oh, Bother Someone is Messy! written by Betty Birney and illustrated by Nancy Stevenson. I chose this book because this book talks about cleaning, which can be used to incorporate the Expanded Core Curriculum standards addressing independent living. I would recommend this book to students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities because the book is easy to follow and has easy concepts to understand. The pictures in the book seem to have a lot of visual clutter which makes it hard for students with visual impairments to follow; therefore, I have included items to accompany the book to help my students with visual impairments to have opportunities to participate and follow the story.   

Story Box 

The book I chose worked wonderfully as a story box because there were so many tactile objects mentioned within this book that were simple items to obtain and use for the story box. The items needed for this story box were common items that need very little background knowledge in order for a student to understand what the item is used for. 

Items in Story Box 

  • Storage Container: For my storage container I will be using a picnic basket. In the end of the story, the characters have a picnic. This storage container has a latch, which allows the items to be closed within this container, and is a rectangular shape to allow other storage containers to be stacked on top.
  • T-shirt: In the beginning of the story Kanga had clothing that she wanted to put away, so I chose to include a t-shirt as one of my items. 
  • Ball: The characters in the story wanted to play ball, but couldn’t because it was raining.
  • Papers: The story mentions Pooh throwing papers on the floor making a bigger mess than before.
  • Pail and shovel: In the story Roo gets his pail and shovel to play in the mud with Pooh and Tigger. 
  • Mud: The characters of the story wanted to make mud pies. 
  • Airplane: Tigger bounced onto a half hidden toy airplane. 
  • Wagon: Roo packed up all his toys in his wagon to head to Piglets house. 
  • Puzzle: Piglet had all of his games and puzzles organized on his shelves. 
  • Clothespin: Kanga was hanging clothes using clothespins that just came out of the wash. 
  • Plate: At the end of the story the characters celebrated Roo’s clean room by having a picnic. 


Five Ways to Implement the Story Box: 

  1. You could have the students explore the tactile items before reading the story. Once they have explored the items then you can read the story to the students. 
  2. You could tell the students what the items in the story box are and then have the students makes inferences as to what they think the story could be about based on the items. 
  3. This story could also be used as life skills for teaching students the importance of cleaning up their messes. A cooking lesson could also be implemented within this life lesson since the characters all have a picnic at the end of the story. 
  4. After reading the story and explaining the items, I would have students come up with other ideas of items that could be used for the story box. 
  5. You could have the students do a story sequencing activity using the items after the story has been read to them. 


Tactile Symbols 

Symbols Chosen:

  • Winnie the Pooh: I chose to do Pooh bear as a symbol because he is one of the main characters in the story. I chose to use his honey pot as his symbol because that is something that Pooh always has in his hand. A student would need to have background knowledge on the basic shape of a pot before understanding what a honey pot would look or feel like. 
  • Tigger: I chose to do Tigger as a symbol because he is one of the main characters in the story. I chose to do Tigger’s bouncy tail because he mentions being bouncy quite often. A student would just be able to feel the curviness of the tail; a student would need to have background knowledge of animals and their features like an animals tail. 
  • Piglet: I chose to do Piglet as a symbol because he is one of the main characters in the story. I chose to do a pig snout for this character to signify piglet being a pig. A student would need to have background knowledge of what a pig is and the different parts of a pig.  
  • Roo: I chose to do Roo as a symbol because he is one of the main characters in the story. I chose to do a blue t-shirt for this character because Roo is always seen wearing this shirt. A student would need to have knowledge of what a t-shirt is in order to understand this symbol card.  
  • Airplane: I chose to use the airplane because the story mentions many different toys, but the story specifically mentions Tigger bouncing on a toy airplane. I used a binder clip and unfolded it to look like wings of a plane. A student would need the background knowledge of what an airplane looks like and the scale of an actual airplane. 
  • Raining: I chose to do raining as a symbol because the story mentions the characters not being able to play outside due to the rain. I used felt shaped raindrops as the symbol; I would also have water for the student to be able to feel what actual rain feels like. A student would need to have prior knowledge of what rain is and what it feels like. 
  • Afternoon: I chose to do use a yellow ball as the sun and cotton balls as clouds covering the sun to symbolize afternoon. I chose to do afternoon because the story mentions afternoon and I felt that time would be a good topic to cover for students. Students would need to have a concept of time.  
  • Woods: I chose to use pieces of sticks to symbolize the woods. The story takes place in the woods so I wanted to include this symbol so I can talk about the setting of the story with the students. A student would need to have knowledge of what the woods are and that the small sticks on the symbol card are just a smaller scale compared to bigger trees and other sticks and items located in the woods. If possible, I would suggest being able to take students outside and find twigs and sticks to have a better concept of the woods. 
  • Cleaning: I chose to use a stick and feathers to symbolize a feather duster for cleaning. The majority of the story talks about cleaning, so I definitely wanted to include this on one of my cards. This is a concept that most children know at least something about. I would want to discuss the different aspects of cleaning with the students and the different tools used to clean.  
  • Ball: I chose to cut a bouncy ball in half and use that for this card. I chose the ball as one of the many toys mentioned in the story because I believe most students will have an idea of what a ball is and won’t need background knowledge for this symbol.  
  • Puzzle: I chose to use the puzzle because in the story Piglet’s puzzles and games are all organized and clean. A student will need to have a background knowledge of what a puzzle is and how each puzzle piece looks and feels different. 
  • Upset: I chose to do a frowny face as my symbol for upset because in the story Kanga is upset because Roo won’t clean up his mess. A student will need to know basic emotions. This would be a good moment in the lesson to talk about different emotions and have students explain what each emotion means and how they feel when they are experiencing the different emotions.  
  • Clothespin: I chose to use a small clothespin because in the story Kanga was doing laundry and hanging it up on the clothesline using clothes pins. A student would need to have a basic understanding of what a clothespin is. I wanted to use this so that I could explain to the students what it was like to do laundry before washers and dryers were invented. 

To use the cards I would have my students feel each of the tactile cards as the story is being read. Students could also practice their inferencing skills by making inferences on which tactile symbol card will come next in the story. 

Tactile symbols

Picture Symbols 

  • Winnie the Pooh: I chose this symbol because Winnie the Pooh is one of the main characters within this story.   
  • Mud: I chose this symbol because the characters within the story decide to make mud pies, the story also mentions the characters tracking mud in the house. 
  • Tigger: I chose this symbol because Winnie the Pooh is one of the main characters within this story.   
  • Toy Airplane: One of the characters bounces on a toy airplane. 
  • Roo: I chose this symbol because Roo is one of the main characters within this story.   
  • Wagon: One of the characters within the story decides to pack up all of his toys in his wagon. 
  • Picnic Basket:  At the end of the story all of the characters have a picnic to celebrate.
  • Ball: The characters want to play ball. 
  • Pail and Shovel: The characters scoop up mud to make mud pies using their pails and shovels. 
  • Puzzle Piece: One of the characters have their puzzles and games all organized on shelves. 
  • Clothespin:  One of the characters was doing laundry and hanging clothes on the clothesline using clothespins. 
  • Tee Shirt: At the beginning of the story of the characters was putting folded laundry away. 

Picture symbols

What comprehension questions would you ask while using these cards?

  1. Who are the characters in this story?
  2. What is the problem in the story?
  3. Where does this story take place?
  4. Why was Kanga frustrated?
  5. Why doesn’t Roo want to clean his room?
  6. Why did the characters not get to play outside?
  7. Why did Pooh and Tigger leave?
  8. What happens while Roo is trying to find someone to play with?
  9. What happens when Roo gets to Piglet’s house?
  10. Why did Roo decide to clean his room?
  11. Why did the characters decide to have a picnic?
  12. Does the character in this story solve the problem?


Talking Book 

This is a talking book I created for the story Oh Bother What a Mess! I used simple pictures without too many distractions or too much clutter. I used large print that has good spacing to make it easier to read; I also used high contrast colors for my font. I wanted this to be easy for my students to access on their own.

Title slide for talking book

Winter Activities and Lessons

Going To Bed book box with a light switch, tooth brush, towel, and soap
Lessons and materials

Book Box – The Going to Bed Book

Clifford's Bedtime Book with a container labeled "Clifford's Bedtime" and a small blanket square under it. Objects include a small doll, bear, and bowl.
Tips and guides

Book Box: Clifford’s Bedtime