Best of Teacher HELPLINE!: Challenging Advanced Readers in Upper Elementary School

You’ve got twenty-four kids in your class. Nineteen are reading on grade level, but five are above. What’s a teacher to do? That’s exactly what Jana wrote to the We Are Teachers HELPLINE! this week. “I have a fourth grader […]

You’ve got twenty-four kids in your class. Nineteen are reading on grade level, but five are above. What’s a teacher to do?

That’s exactly what Jana wrote to the We Are Teachers HELPLINE! this week. “I have a fourth grader that is well above grade level in all areas. I’m pretty comfortable differentiating math, but I could use some suggestions for reading. What kinds of things can I have her do during reading centers?”

Jana, our helpline has heard you and they have spoken! Here are some of their suggestions.

1. Change up what they read.
“Increase the lexile level of her reading. Have her read more nonfiction and use the other grade standards to see what she should know in those grades when it comes to language and comprehension.” —Nika M.
“I increase their lexile level of the reading passages we use in centers and look ahead at what they should know in the next level. Then we expand on that.” —Nicole L.

2. Extend their reading via project application.
“Sometimes, if there’s only one or two students, I’ll ask them to work on a project related to the reading, such as more research and turn it into a power point.” —Laura N.
“Let them research and do project book reports on a book of their choosing and reading level.” —Jodie K.

3. Take advantage of technology.
“I would do a book inventory so I know what the student likes, then drill deep! Get her doing amazing, creative things. If you have access to technology, she could create a story using iMotion, StoryCreater, Pic Collage, and so on. There are wonderful ‘Book in a Bag’ projects, like creating posters. Last year, I had four readers above grade level, and they did book reports in a Reading Rainbow-style format. They summarized, analyzed characters and traits, sequenced, and many other cool things!” —Vicki A.

4. Assign lengthier books to challenge students and increase stamina.
“Give her a good length chapter book and a menu of options for demonstration comprehension and extensions. Examples might include writing and alternate ending, drawing a cover for each chapter, making a book talk or book review on Prezi or powerpoint, or creating a short video of the summary. What makes these options advanced is that she is doing them based on an above-grade level book.” —Mindy J.
“The length of the book, as well as higher vocabulary, helps to increase their reading stamina, so I have students pick books that will appropriately challenge them.” —Mandy K.

How to differentiate for your advanced readers

WeAreTeachers Staff

Posted by WeAreTeachers Staff

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