Learning to read is an important part of each student’s education. It allows them to access new information and knowledge, and to start on the path to becoming independent and curious life-long learners.

Reading is also important to a range of other skills that involve gaining knowledge from other subjects, such as math, history, social studies, etc. Furthermore, reading stories and texts from a variety of different perspectives can support students’ emotional well-being and social skills, by helping them see the perspectives of others.
As you can tell, reading is very important to students of all ages!
However, each child is different: their reading may develop at a different rate, and often in different ways. In a single classroom, you may have a mixed group of students such as those below, just to name a few!
One classroom, different levels of reading…
  • Children who were born 6 months apart
  • Children who are struggling with reading
  • Children who are ahead of their grade level in reading
  • Children who are learning in their second language
  • Students with special learning needs
How then can we ensure that we’re meeting the needs of all emerging readers?

Differentiated Instruction for Reading

Differentiating reading instructions allows teachers to adapt to each child’s level. Below are two ways to get started with tailoring instruction to different students’ levels. 
1. Provide A Variety of Reading Tasks
To progress in reading, as well as build confidence in their reading skills, students need to have experiences of success. This means students need reading tasks that are at the right level – difficult enough that they need to apply effort and reading strategies to succeed, while being easy enough that this can allow them to experience success, and to see their growth as readers.

Different children in the same classroom may be reading at different levels. Providing a variety of books, clearly labeled for each reading level, can allow students to select books that are optimal for their own learning. Similarly, providing levelled reading tasks allow each student to work on tasks that will enable their reading skills to grow, without leading to frustration or boredom. For example, when working on a science content unit, providing different levelled-texts, that cover the same topic but use more/less complex vocabulary, or shorter/longer text, can help all students access the concepts being taught. 

Providing tasks at the right level also means being aware of each students’ strengths and areas for improvement. Ongoing dynamic assessment throughout the school year, which assesses students during classroom learning rather than through formal testing, can help to monitor each students’ level and adjust tasks as needed. 
2. Promote Students’ Autonomy
Another important way to differentiate learning, and to promote students’ self-confidence as readers, is by giving them opportunities to learn independently. 

This can involve teaching self-regulatory skills to students, such as the ability to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning. Developing self-regulation allows students to better understand how they learn, as well as which strategies work for them or when they need help. This helps them take control of their learning, and to learn at a pace that works for them.

Promoting autonomy also involves giving students choice, for example by letting them choose the books they will read and by giving them free periods in which they can structure their own learning. This allows them to read materials they find interesting and develop organizational skills that are essential to learning. As students develop independence, this helps them to see they are capable readers and to see reading as something that is enjoyable.
Hope that you found those 2 tips useful! 
There are in fact many more reading strategies and tips that you could learn to help children gain confidence and interest in reading! 
Want more reading tips and advice to support budding readers? 

ELG is glad to share! Join us for our series of webinars this July to support learners of all levels, with a focus on READING and LEARNING DIFFICULTIES. These not-to-be-missed webinars will be led by ELG’s experienced Reading Specialist, Miriam McBreen, and Dyslexia Specialist, Elis Poh

Spark some love for reading this July!