Differentiated Instruction: Making Informed Teacher Decisions


  • Susan Watts-Taffe,

  • B.P. (Barbara) Laster,

  • Laura Broach,

  • Barbara Marinak,

  • Carol McDonald Connor,

  • Doris Walker-Dalhouse


This article addresses approaches to differentiating instruction to meet the needs of students whose literacy needs, interests, and strengths vary widely. This article was designed to support classroom teachers who understand the importance of differentiating instruction, but are unsure of how best to design and implement differentiation within the parameters of the classroom. The article begins by defining differentiated instruction and discussing its importance, including the role of differentiation with respect to diversity and with respect to Response to Intervention (RTI). The remainder of the article describes in detail two examples of differentiated instruction in classroom contexts. Each example is followed by a discussion of the research and decision-making underlying the teacher's approach to differentiation. The article concludes with common characteristics of effective differentiation.