Differentiated Instruction in the area of Reading
Differentiated instruction caters to differences among students, how students learn, different learning styles, and the interest of each learner. Running records support differentiating lessons for each learner during guided reading. Running records are diagnostic tools designed to identify a student’s reading deficiencies and monitor progress. The implementation of running records allows the teacher to differentiate each child’s reading lesson and hone in on the child’s needs and abilities. It is the educator’s responsibility to fine-tune instructional needs so that classroom, small group, and one-to-one teaching occur when and for whom they are needed in a timely way and with the high quality every child deserves (Fountas & Pinnell, 2009). Each child enters a classroom with varying needs; differentiating guided reading lessons based on the results of running records will help meet the individual needs of each child. Kelly M. Anderson (2007) states, teachers who differentiate believe each child is unique, with differing learning styles and preferences. Teachers can differentiate based on students’ readiness by varying the level of difficulty of the material covered in class. Guided reading offers the opportunity to vary the children’s reading based on their reading level. Differentiating instruction is not lowering expectations for some students. Differentiating instruction is establishing high expectations for all students while varying the process to which each child learns the same concept. Differentiating involves addressing the individual needs of diverse learners. Watts-Taffe, et al. (2012) notes although differentiating instruction is not new; it has become increasingly important in schools where great deals of students are not achieving the highest levels of literacy.
Review of the Literature
Anderson (2007) states, “Most important to differentiated instruction are the elements of choice, flexibility, on-going assessment, and creativity resulting in differentiating the content being taught, or how students are processing and developing understanding of concepts and skills, or the ways in which students demonstrate what they have learned” (p. 50). Through guided reading or literature circles, teachers are able to gauge the students understanding and comprehension and use running records as on-going assessment. Students are able to choice their leveled books based on their interest which keeps the students engaged. Students choosing their leveled readers are another way to differentiate by allowing choices. Rather than have the entire class read the same novel or chapter book, guided reading or literature circles can be implemented to fit the varying reading levels. Anderson (2007) goes on to say, “Despite differences in abilities, learning styles, and students’ prior knowledge, this component of a lesson is typically a stable constant in most instructional lessons, meaning that...