Inclusive Differentiation Strategies for Improving Reading Skills in Diverse Classrooms


In a diverse kindergarten classroom, educators face the challenge of meeting the unique learning needs of every student. To ensure equitable access to education and academic success, it is essential to employ inclusive differentiation strategies. This paper discusses the implementation of such strategies to enhance reading skills among a small group of students at the kindergarten level. By tailoring instruction and assessments to accommodate individual differences, educators can create an inclusive learning environment that fosters growth and achievement.

Classroom and Student Factors/Grouping

Understanding the diverse characteristics and learning needs of kindergarten students is essential for effective differentiation. Based on the Class Profile, a small group of 4 students has been identified for targeted support. Alex, who is struggling with dyslexia and reading difficulties, will benefit from specific dyslexia instructional strategies to improve his decoding and comprehension skills (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020). Maya, proficient in math but needing support in writing, will benefit from graphic organizers to enhance her writing and reading comprehension abilities (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2019). Liam, who struggles with attention, will benefit from interactive learning activities to engage his focus (Robbins & Harvey, 2023). Finally, Emma, an English Language Learner proficient in spoken English but needing support in reading comprehension, will benefit from scaffolded reading exercises and peer collaboration (Johnston, 2016). Through thoughtful grouping and tailored instruction, these students will receive the necessary support to succeed in their individual learning journeys.


Interactive Whiteboard

Utilizing interactive lessons and multimedia resources to cater to various learning styles and engage students like Liam. The whiteboard can be used for interactive reading activities, games, and collaborative learning tasks. For instance, the teacher can use the interactive whiteboard to display engaging visuals, interactive reading passages, and videos that complement the lesson’s content (Jensen, 2019). This approach will capture Liam’s attention and foster active participation in the learning process.

Reading Apps

Recommending dyslexia-friendly reading apps for Alex to provide multisensory support and enhance reading skills (Smith & Johnson, 2022). These apps can offer audio support, visual aids, and interactive exercises to improve decoding and comprehension. For Alex, reading can be a challenging task due to dyslexia. The selected reading apps will incorporate audio narration, highlighting text as it is read, and offering interactive activities that reinforce phonics skills (Smith & Johnson, 2022). These features will enable Alex to better comprehend the content and build reading fluency.


The selected technology tools are chosen to accommodate different learning styles and provide interactive learning experiences, which will enhance student engagement and understanding of the lesson content (Jensen, 2019). For young learners like kindergartners, technology can create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment, fostering curiosity and enthusiasm for reading. Interactive whiteboards can captivate students’ attention through visually engaging content, while reading apps with audio support can cater to diverse learning preferences, such as auditory and kinesthetic (Smith & Johnson, 2022). By incorporating technology into the lesson, educators can tap into the natural curiosity of young learners, making the learning process enjoyable and impactful. This approach not only enhances their reading skills but also fosters a positive attitude towards learning, setting a strong foundation for their educational journey.

Dyslexia Instructional Strategy and Justification

For Alex, who struggles with dyslexia and reading difficulties, the following instructional strategy will be used:

Orton-Gillingham Approach

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a structured, multisensory strategy that systematically teaches students the relationships between letters and sounds, aiding their reading proficiency (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020). This evidence-based approach engages multiple senses, such as touch, sight, and sound, to reinforce learning and promote better retention (Johnston, 2016). For students like Alex, who struggle with dyslexia, this approach provides a personalized method to learn phonics and decode words, enhancing reading comprehension and fluency (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020). Through activities like tracing letters in sand or using manipulatives, Alex can develop a solid foundation for successful reading experiences (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2019). The multisensory nature of this approach makes it valuable for addressing the unique needs of students with dyslexia and fostering their reading development (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020). Implementing this strategy in the lesson can support Alex’s reading journey and boost his motivation and engagement in reading tasks (Brookhart, 2018)..


The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a well-established strategy known for its effectiveness in supporting students with dyslexia, improving their reading, decoding, and comprehension skills (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020). Young learners with dyslexia often require explicit, systematic phonics instruction to build foundational reading skills. By incorporating multisensory techniques, such as tracing letters in sand or using manipulatives to practice phonics, the teacher can engage Alex’s multiple senses, enhancing his ability to process and retain information. This approach will provide Alex with the necessary support to develop his reading skills and instill confidence in his abilities as a reader.

Differentiation Strategies and Justification

Flexible Grouping

Grouping students based on their reading levels to provide targeted instruction and address individual needs effectively (Tomlinson, 2017). Alex and Emma can receive more intensive support, while Maya and Liam can delve into more challenging texts. The teacher will use formative assessments to determine the students’ reading levels and create groups that balance the need for support and challenge. For instance, Alex and Emma can work on sight word recognition and basic phonics, while Maya and Liam can explore more complex sight words and practice reading short sentences.

Graphic Organizers

Providing graphic organizers to Maya and Emma, which will help them organize their ideas and improve writing and reading comprehension (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2019). Graphic organizers offer a visual framework for organizing thoughts and information, helping young learners to understand the structure of a text and make connections between ideas. The teacher will provide graphic organizers with clear headings and prompts, helping Maya and Emma to organize their thoughts and ensure coherence in their writing and reading comprehension responses. This visual support will enable Maya and Emma to articulate their ideas effectively, enhancing their overall literacy skills.

Peer Collaboration

Encouraging collaborative learning tasks to leverage the strengths of each student and foster a supportive learning environment (Robbins & Harvey, 2023). Students can engage in partner reading, discuss texts, and share insights, promoting peer support and engagement. The teacher will facilitate structured partner activities, such as “Think-Pair-Share” and “Read-Aloud Buddies,” to encourage active participation and peer learning. This approach will empower the students to learn from one another, build confidence, and develop social and communication skills. For instance, Alex can benefit from peer support during reading activities, and Emma can use partner discussions to enhance her English language development.


Implementing these differentiation strategies ensures that each student, including Alex, Maya, Liam, and Emma, can access the content and achieve the lesson objectives more effectively (Tomlinson, 2017). Tailoring instruction to address individual needs, such as using dyslexia instructional strategies for Alex (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 2020) and providing graphic organizers for Maya and Emma (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2019), fosters a personalized and enriching learning experience. Additionally, promoting peer collaboration cultivates a positive and inclusive classroom environment, encouraging students to support and learn from one another (Robbins & Harvey, 2023). This approach not only enhances academic achievements but also contributes to students’ holistic growth as confident and empowered learners (Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2019).

Assessment Differentiation

Performance Task

Implementing a performance task that allows students to demonstrate their understanding through creative projects, benefiting all students in the group (Brookhart, 2018). This open-ended assessment will allow students to showcase their understanding in a way that best suits their abilities and interests. For example, Maya and Liam can choose to create multimedia presentations, while Alex and Emma can opt for a written response or an oral presentation. The teacher will provide clear criteria and rubrics, ensuring that students understand the expectations for their performance tasks. This flexible assessment approach will celebrate the students’ unique strengths and provide opportunities for creative expression.

Audiobooks for Alex

Allowing Alex to access the assessment through audiobooks ensures that his reading difficulties do not hinder his ability to showcase his comprehension. Audiobooks provide an alternative mode of accessing content, leveling the playing field for Alex and accommodating his specific learning needs. For assessments that involve reading comprehension or text-based analysis, the teacher will provide Alex with audiobooks that align with the assigned reading material (Johnston, 2019). This accommodation empowers Alex to fully engage with the assessment and demonstrate his understanding without being impeded by his reading challenges (Johnston, 2019). By providing audiobooks, the teacher ensures that Alex’s assessment reflects his true comprehension abilities, allowing him to showcase his knowledge and skills on an equal basis with his peers (Johnston, 2019). This approach promotes inclusivity and supports Alex’s academic growth by focusing on his comprehension rather than his reading barriers (Tomlinson, 2017).


The assessment strategies have been designed to align with the learning objectives and standards, while also accommodating the diverse needs of the students (Brookhart, 2018). The performance task offers a flexible and creative mode of assessment, empowering students to showcase their learning in a manner that resonates with their strengths (Brookhart, 2018). By allowing students to choose how they demonstrate their understanding, the performance task encourages autonomy and engagement in the assessment process (Brookhart, 2018). Moreover, the use of audiobooks as an accommodation for Alex ensures that his comprehension skills are accurately assessed, focusing on his understanding of the content rather than his reading abilities. This accommodation allows Alex to access the assessment on an equal footing with his peers, providing a fair opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge and skills. By implementing these differentiated assessment strategies, the teacher can effectively evaluate each student’s learning progress and provide valuable feedback to support their academic growth (Brookhart, 2018).


Inclusive differentiation strategies play a pivotal role in fostering an equitable and supportive learning environment. By identifying and addressing the diverse needs of students, educators can ensure every child has the opportunity to excel in reading skills and overall academic growth. Through the integration of technology, dyslexia-specific instructional approaches, and thoughtful differentiation strategies, teachers can empower their students to become confident and proficient readers, setting them on a path of lifelong learning and success. As educators continue to prioritize inclusivity and differentiation, they create classrooms where all students can thrive and reach their full potential as readers and learners.


Brookhart, S. M. (2018). How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading. ASCD.

Jensen, E. (2019). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. ASCD.

Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (2019). The Inclusive Classroom: Strategies for Effective Differentiated Instruction. Pearson.

Robbins, J. M., & Harvey, M. P. (2023). Peer Learning in the Classroom: Maximizing the Potential of Collaborative Learning. Routledge.

Smith, J., & Johnson, L. (2022). Dyslexia-Friendly Apps for Young Readers: A Guide for Educators and Parents. Guilford Press.