Reading Skills Problem: Differentiated Instruction


Students with basic reading skills need differentiated instruction in order to make them understand better. It is important for a teacher to have an understanding of the capacity of his or her students. Teaching should be based on the capacity of the students. An instruction for a student with advanced reading skills will be very different from that of a student who is struggling to read (Borich, 2007). Giving the students a general approach when issuing instruction may hurt different groups of students.

When a teacher is forced to consider taking the pace of the fast learners, the students who are struggling with basic reading skills may suffer. For this reason, it is important that a teacher understands the student’s capacity well.

The first step is to assess the students. The teacher should assess the capacity of the students. The students should then be grouped as basic learners and advanced learners. The teacher should give the students the basic category of careful attention. The next step should be to select the appropriate material for the students. The materials selected should be able to meet their capacity. There should be a consistent follow-up done by the teacher in ensuring that these students are taken care of, as is expected.


A number of adaptations would help students with reading problems excel in their studies. It is upon the teacher to choose the best adaptations. One of the adaptations would the input. This implies that the teacher should adjust the course delivery technique. For instance, the use of different visual aids would be advisable for students with reading problems.

  • The teacher should come up with solid examples that would not confuse the learner.
  • The second adaption is output. Under this adaptation strategy, the teacher should adjust the teaching technique, which should respond to the needs of the student. In this case, it is preferred that the teacher presents the course material in a written format as opposed to presenting it verbally.
  • The third adaptation for students with the reading problem is the level of support. In this case, the teacher should incorporate the services of peers into his teaching strategies (Linn, Miller, & Gronlund, 2009).


As a rule, the teacher should always pay attention to the needs of students with reading problems. This is because such students need the teacher more as compared to the normal students. In this regard, input plays a critical role in achieving the needs of students with reading problems. The teacher should always try as much as possible to consult professionals as regards the physical condition of students.

There are a number of strategies available to the teacher regarding instructional differentiation for students with reading problems. One of the strategies is using a cooperative learning strategy. Under this strategy, the teacher should give students amicable time to digest the course material before engaging them in discussions. For students with reading problems, they might not understand the course material easily.

In this case, the teacher should give them time to internalize the main concepts before moving in to ask questions. The second strategy pertains to the incorporation of visuals and manipulative materials into the teaching methods. As a rule, the teacher should always use visual materials, such as the blackboard, PowerPoint, and videos because they would help students comprehend the course material.

Another strategy entails offering a low-reading level and encouraging high-interest reading. This means that the teacher should not force students with reading problems to read books. However, he or she should try as much as possible to inculcate reading interest in students. Through this, students with reading problems would have an opportunity to excel in various fields of education. In relation to this, students with reading problems should be given clear instructions to avoid confusing them. Therefore, consideration of the output is critical. If possible, the teacher should always write down all instructions instead of dictating them.

If students with reading problems ask questions, the teacher should respond as soon as possible instead of waiting until the next day. This would give students with reading problems the courage to ask questions in the future. Since they need time to conceptualize the course material, they should be given simple assignments and be allowed maximum time to complete their coursework. This strategy is related to another strategy that is, breaking down the assignments into manageable units. In fact, the teacher should consider using peer tutors to pass critical information to students with reading problems.

Hence, support is a valid adaptation for students with reading problems. Generally, students with reading problems should be allowed more time to practice since their level of understanding is not similar to that of other students.

Differentiated Instruction for Gifted Students

Gifted students refer to individuals who have the capacity of acquiring knowledge faster as compared to other students. Their rates of reading, writing, and understanding are very high as compared to those of other students. In this case, the teacher should choose three adaptations that would fulfill the needs of a gifted student. Therefore, the first adaptation would be to consider the number of items a student would be expected to grasp at the end of the course content. Since such students have the capacity of understanding faster, they should be instructed to reduce social studies and concentrate on doing mathematics and sciences.

Time is another adaptation that would help the teacher in handling the pace of the gifted student. In this case, the teacher should reduce the pace at which the course material is delivered. The third adaptation that would help the teacher convene the needs of a gifted student pertains to substituting the curriculum. For instance, the teacher should instruct the gifted student to perform other academic activities once he or she is through with the assignment. For example, the student can learn the computer in a language class after completing the assignment (Slavin, 2009).


The number of items used in mentoring a student influences his or her performance. For gifted students, the teacher would be able to control their reading and writing skills by adjusting the items. Time is another factor that influences the performance of students. A teacher should not be tempted to give students information that might be beyond their level of understanding. The teacher should wait to disseminate information at the right time. Finally, the substitution of the curriculum would play a critical role in controlling the academic behavior of a gifted student. This means that giving the student extra work would control his behavior in class. However, gifted students do not need specialized care.


Borich, G. (2007). Effective teaching methods: Research-based practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Linn, R., Miller, M., & Gronlund, N. (2009). Measurement and assessment in teaching (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Slavin, R.E. (2009). Educational psychology: Theory and practice (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.