In a classroom of 25 or so students, reading levels can range from 2nd grade to 10th grade. As a good teacher, you know each student’s level, because you’ve already individually assessed each student. One good assessment system is the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment system.
Each student needs to be instructed at his level. The challenge is to differentiate for each student so you can teach them at their instructional level. Good differentiated reading materials can be hard to come by. Here’s an easy way to differentiate for each of your students.
One way is to create baskets of different leveled texts. For example, Basket 1 might have Lexile levels 500 to 700; Basket 2 might have 710 – 850; and Basket 3 might have 860 to 950. Place these baskets near your guided reading table. Write all the students’ names who read within a group on a label. Place the label on the outside of the basket. Do this for each of the three baskets. At guided reading time, instruct students to choose a book from the basket with their name and bring it to the table.
Another good way to differentiate reading instruction is to provide identical stories that are written on the same level.
When the stories include the same vocabulary, you can be assured that all students are being exposed to the content vocabulary for their current grade level. When the questions are the same for both levels, you can be assured that all students are receiving instruction at their current grade level.
All students can join in the same discussion, because the questions and answers are the same at both reading levels.
To get you started, I’m making this story, “The Frog Prince,” available for free to you. Just click HERE to pick up your free copy. Then watch your students’ faces light up when they can read the same story as all their classmates.