4 Tips You Need for Using Differentiated Reading Passages

Inside: How to differentiate your reading comprehension passages- while still teaching the same skills! These ideas for differentiated reading lesson plans are sure to help you differentiate your reading activities and passages.

How to Use Differentiated Reading Passages (while still teaching the same skills)

No matter what grade level you are teaching, you’re bound to have varied levels of readers in your class. A 3rd-grade class, for example, may have students reading at a 2nd-grade level (or below), and at a 4th-grade level (or above!) With such a variety of students, it’s difficult to figure out how to use differentiated reading passages (while still teaching the same skills), but it’s possible with these tips.

Teacher with students working on reading comprehension and fluency passages- Tips for Using Differentiated Reading Passages

Focus on reading comprehension skills.

Even if you are using leveled passages, make sure to have the same skills covered. For example, if you’re assessing understanding of main idea, make sure you have a question that asks about main idea and supporting details. To differentiate within the questions, the vocabulary may differ or you may have higher-level readers write their own main idea rather than identify one from predetermined choices. Regardless of the skill level of your students, make sure to assess necessary skills at each level.

Make sure content is age-appropriate as you differentiate.

The challenge of finding below grade level content can be finding subject matter that interests students based on their age rather than their reading level. For example, sixth-graders reading at a second-grade level do not have the same social and emotional interests as typical second graders. Books about farm animals or the pictures and formatting contained in those texts may not appeal to sixth graders. The same can be said for students reading far above grade level. Although they may read at a post-high school level, sixth graders may not be ready for the language or maturity of subject matter in adult books.

With our differentiated reading passages, we made sure to choose topics that are relevant to students at all ages. That way, no matter what level your student is reading, they will be able to enjoy the content. Using a bundle of leveled passages with the same questions and title allows students to have content that reflects their age. Plus, all the work is done for you, so you won’t have to hunt for hard-to-find passages!

Don’t single students out when you differentiate your reading activities.

By using passages with the same title and questions (just different passages for leveled readers), students will not notice the differences between the high, medium, and low passages. With small symbols to differentiate the passages, you won’t even need to copy on different colors. Gone are the days of pink, green, and blue papers calling attention to students’ reading levels. Simply use the handouts as is, and your students will be able to answer questions and discuss the text content with their peers after reading independently or within small groups.

Try a website like Newsela

I was lucky enough that my school provided us with a paid subscription to Newsela! Newsela offers differentiated reading passages of current news stories. Your students pick their reading level and the Newsela gives them the passage at their level. After students finish reading the passage they take a quiz about the news story.

Every student can read the same news story at their level so you can have great class discussions about what they read!

Plus, you as the teacher can assign your students specific news stories and see their progress in their reading skills.

Differentiated Reading Comprehension Passages

If you’re still reading, chances are you would LOVE our differentiated reading comprehension passages! Like Newsela, our reading comprehension passages offer the same stories at targeted levels.

For these resources, I teamed up with my sister Victoria La Rue, who is a professional writer. She has always amazed me with her writing skills, so I was thrilled to work together on this project that is much needed for the diverse needs in our classrooms. Our differentiated reading comprehension passages are available for Kindergarten through 6th grades.

These differentiated reading comprehension passages include a low, medium, and high passage for each grade. Each passage has the SAME title and questions- and covers the same skills. The difference is only in the passages themselves- to meet each student at their own reading level.

Our differentiated reading passages & differentiated reading passages bundles are perfect for teachers with students at a variety of levels and homeschool parents with multiple children or who want something to grow with their child.

FREEBIE! Want to try our differentiated reading passages out? 

Grab our Differentiated Reading Comprehension & Fluency Passages for K-6 freebie to try them out before you buy! You will get the first two differentiated passages for FREE (that’s 6 leveled passages total, 3 levels for each passage).

Learning how to teach with differentiated reading passages (while still teaching the same skills) can be simple. Focus on the skills and content with the same titles and questions will help all learners reach their goals to improve reading comprehension!

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