Teachers' use of differentiated reading strategy instruction for talented, average, and struggling readers in regular and SEM-R classrooms

Date of Completion

January 2006


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Reading|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




This mixed-methods research study investigated the use of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model - Reading (SEM-R) developed at The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented to incorporate gifted pedagogy into reading instruction for all students. Differences between experimental and control teachers' reading instruction were examined in 80 observations of 16 third through seventh grade teachers in a suburban northeast city. Ten of the sixteen teachers used the experimental reading model, and with two days of training all but one of the teachers in the study was able to implement the SEM-R successfully with high treatment fidelity. ^ The Reading Classroom Practices Record was used to record the type and duration of instruction and there were significant differences in the reading comprehension strategy instruction provided in treatment and control classrooms. The activities most often used to teach reading in the classrooms of control teachers included round robin reading, test preparation, and guided reading, whereas treatment teachers gave mini lessons prior to a period of supported independent reading, during which they conferenced with readers. Students in treatment classrooms read an average of 36 minutes per class period, significantly more than the 11 minutes read by control students. ^ Higher level strategy questions were used more often in both conditions than lower level strategy questions. Nearly 69% of the strategy questions asked in whole group instruction in treatment classrooms were higher level strategy questions, compared to 60% asked in control classrooms. Teachers more often asked low achieving readers to monitor their reading and generate questions as they read and teachers were more likely to ask talented readers to rate the degree of challenge of the book, discuss the theme, synthesize their reading, and make self to text connections. ^ Teachers provided strategy instruction to low readers significantly more often than to average or talented readers. Teachers struggled to provide sufficiently challenging strategy instruction in conferences with talented readers, and questions focused on affective issues related to the students' reading, rather than strategy use. Overall, the study provided evidence that teachers using the SEM-R provided more differentiated reading strategy instruction than teachers in more traditional classrooms.^