ASCD May 1, 2021 by Rachael Gabriel

…Leaders and policymakers should remember that the individual differences that make each of us unique matter for reading instruction. Reading and writing require the orchestration of multiple complex cognitive, social, affective, and linguistic tasks. How well a student performs these tasks is influenced by many factors, only one of which is the type of instruction her teacher uses. Students’ individual language histories, cultural knowledge, interests, skills, health, text exposures, and reasons for reading affect their responses to instruction and intervention.Treating evidence-based programs or approaches as solutions to be applied rather than possibilities to be tried out is problematic. Figuring out who needs what means asking the right questions about our students, instructional routines, and contexts, and having the wisdom, flexibility, and resources to adjust. It means positioning each teacher as the principal investigator of their classroom, someone who consistently inquires about the optimal balance of instructional practices for their current students—and positioning leaders to investigate how teachers are implementing reading instruction.If anything, science shows us that the diversity of students’ responses to instruction—even the same instruction—requires instructors to be flexible in their selection of content and pedagogy to provide equal opportunities for each learner’s development.

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