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Today’s Reading Challenge for English Learners in Middle and High School

Today, classrooms are comprised of students reading at various ability levels. As a result, English language arts teachers are faced with the challenge of how to meet the needs of all students. This includes advanced readers who need to keep striving and thriving, as well as struggling readers who need to acquire the skills needed to be successful not only in English classes, but in all subject areas. For multilingual/English learners entering a classroom, their success reading in English can depend on the reading skills developed in their native language, as well as their ability to acquire enough English to comprehend what they are reading, and the speed at which they can do so. Targeted differentiated instruction is sometimes hard to achieve using the same texts for all students all the time. That’s where leveled readers come in.


The Benefits of Leveled Readers

There are many benefits of using leveled readers to address students’ needs in the classroom. Leveled readers are libraries of books, preferably fiction and nonfiction, that are organized into different levels of proficiency, word count, and comprehensibility. The books address various content areas, interests, and topics while providing enough support and challenge to encourage and motivate students to read and learn. Having books at different levels allow students to choose the level at which they feel most comfortable learning, while providing a pathway for them to grow. In addition, leveled readers can address many different reading skills that students can apply to any context, even outside of the language arts classroom. As a result, leveled readers are becoming very helpful tools to help teachers gauge student progress over time.


Teachers looking for leveled readers may benefit from Vista’s Get Reading! program. Each book in a Get Reading! library is written at three different proficiency levels, and the collections include ten different themes and four content areas, including ELA/fiction, science, social studies, and math. This way, multilingual learners and striving readers in middle and high school can read the same book as their peers, but at their own level.


Reading books at the right level, especially during independent reading time, is important for maintaining students’ interest and engagement. Also, is helps to provide the right level of support, while also challenging students to move beyond their current reading level.


By matching the right leveled book to each student, not only can teachers address individual student needs, but students can also feel confident to push themselves to build the reading skills they need to be successful in school and in their future.


By Angela Padron

Also read: Help Students Level Up in Reading

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