October 24, 2013
Literacy is an important skill for all students and often presents a challenge in many classrooms when a teacher is faced with students at various skill levels. Literacy includes spoken language, written expression, and reading skills. Literacy skills start at birth and continue throughout our school years. Literacy is the one skill that affects many other subjects we encounter throughout our lives. Students may have any number of disabilities or gifts and the teacher needs to use many different strategies to reach each of those students with disabilities as well as challenge those with exceptional abilities and everyone in between. Meeting the needs of individual students requires teachers to differentiate instruct using a variety of strategies. Meeting individual need does not require individual lesson plans; it does require that teachers are familiar with the skills that the students in the classroom possess. Without differentiated instruction, teachers “aim for the middle” leaving those students with disabilities intimidated and confused while the gifted students are bored and unchallenged. Differentiated instruction is an approach that embraces the philosophy of multiplicity among students and that these students can be successful if we utilize a varied array of strategies. Carol Tomlinson (1999) contends that up-to-date studies have shown that students flourish when they are receiving instruction based on their own skill level of readiness, interest, and learning style.
Differentiated instruction is modified instruction that supports a vast number of learners with a number of different abilities meet academic standards. Differentiation and teaching to many skill levels may seem to be an overwhelming task but with proper knowledge and preparation differential instruction easily permits teachers to present a range of information at several...