High Level Readers

What is the difference between a "Good Activity" and a "Good Differentiated Activity"?

According to Carol Ann Tomlinson (2001)

A GOOD ACTIVITY is something students will...

  • Use an essential skill(s) and essential information to do or make something.
  • Make or do something in order to understand an essential idea/principle or answer an essential question

A GOOD DIFFERENTIATED ACTIVITY is something students will make or do

  • in a range of modes at varying degrees of challenge and time spans.
  • with different levels of teacher or peer support
  • still using an essential skill(s) and essential information
  • and in order to understand an essential skill(s) and information

Differentiation should be done according to a students...

Readiness: match the difficulty of a task to the students level of understanding of that skill.

Interest: Give students choices about certain facets of a topic or helping them connect a personal interest to a specific topic.

Learning Style: Know how a student learns best. Communicate with them to determine this learning style and provide opportunities for them to use that style to learn the same skill as others.


We all know that the best way to become a better reader is to read. The problem with that for many of our students is that we make them read things that are boring to them or we don't give them a choice so they think they don't like to read. (Yes...Even the high-level readers)

We can help them become better readers by allowing them to choose a specific area of a topic or their own book but still require them to learn the same skill as everyone else.

I have had extremely high-level identified students tell me they don't like Battle of the Books because they are being told what to read...Hummm?

**Students will be successful in reading assessments if they feel they are successful readers. They will be more successful readers if they are reading something they enjoy.

Interest Survey

Sometimes we as teachers use the same stories out of the leveled reader, the same novels we have always done.


We already have the materials, we know the story, it's easy for us. I am not trying to offend anyone. I am stepping on my toes also. We need to be willing to get outside of our box and let the students help give us direction in our lesson plans and what we have them read.

We need to learn what our students like to read and want to read. The best way of doing that is to have them complete an Interest survey.

Typically I would do this at the beginning of the year but, it can definitely be effective now!!

Here are a couple you can use or you can create your own based on what you already know about your students.


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Gifted Readers Like...

  • Nuanced Language
  • Multidimensional Characters
  • Visually Inventive Picture Books
  • Playful Thinking
  • Unusual Connections; finding Patterns and parallels within and among books
  • Abstractions and analogies
  • A blend of fantasy and non-fiction
  • Extraordinary quantities of information about a favorite topic
  • Books about gifted children

Taken from http://www.bertiekingore.com/readinginstruction.htm


Having gifted students to read books about other gifted students allows them to make connections between themselves and the characters in the stories.



Freak the Mighty

The Phantom Tollbooth

Encyclopedia Brown

When practicing reading Informational text/biographies/autobiographies your gifted students could choose from people who are or were gifted.

Such as...


Walt Disney

Ben Carson

Thomas Edison

Links to learn more about Bibliotherapy.





Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate in mixed ability classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.