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Differentiated instruction

How Complex a Text Can I Scaffold?

Teacher question:

Instructional Level and Teaching with Complex Text

Boy, oh, boy! The past couple weeks have brought unseasonably warm temperatures to the Midwest, and unusual flurries of questions concerning teaching children at their, so-called, “instructional levels.” Must be salesman season, or something.

Eight Ways to Help Kids to Read Complex Text

Teacher Question:

My district is currently "grappling" with the idea of asking students to read complex text if they are significantly below the grade level. As an example, within one fourth grade class, a teacher identified that more than half her class is 1-2 grade levels below the expectation for reading (using multiple measures). Her response is to change the level of the text, and try to move the students forward. The common theme in our schools is that growth is what matters, not proficiency.

Students Who Learn Best with Audiobooks Are Not Cheating! They Are Accessing Their Curriculum

Educators who hold to beliefs that audiobooks are cheating can have their say in their personal lives. At school, that point of view stands in the way of academic success for struggling readers for whom audiobooks and alternatives to print are a necessity. 

Decode poorly, read slowly? 

Students who decode poorly and read slowly should use audiobooks to access the curriculum. They also need a specialized and proven program of reading instruction in order to learn to read. 

Captions Support Readers Across America: Free Resources from DCMP Celebrate Dr. Seuss!

Teachers get ready to contribute in your own way to the literacy festivities ahead. Join the Defined and Caption Media Program's (DCMP) 11th annual Read Captions Across America (RCAA) event!

NEA Partner

Free Apps Games Provide an Accessible Path to STEM/STEAM Content + Skill Building

When science learning materials in print frustrate or close out students who struggle with traditional learning materials, alternative media can get students back into the game. There are many free digital options that can engage learners and keep their attention while they provide opportunities for skills, understanding, and vocabulary to grow.  

20 Questions/Answers about Dyslexia That Teachers Can Use to Reshape Instruction

Dyslexia often is confusing for parents and teachers as the manner in which it presents can differ widely among children and youths. Dyslexia can go undetected for a long time, but it is neurologically based, known to be inherited, and will not be outgrown. Once students fall behind, their problems connected with reading, writing, and spelling can become complicated by negative feelings that affect their self-esteem.

To Group or Not to Group — That Is the Question

A teacher’s (thoughtful) questions:

An Argument About Matching Texts to Students

A reader wrote:

My main response is toward your general notion of the research surrounding teaching kids "at their level."

Final Notes on Complex Text Requirements

Last week I replied to some of the remarks about text complexity that were made on the Valerie Strauss’s Washington Post column. Here are a couple more.

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio