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Differentiated Reading Instruction Worksheets and Activities

Are you a teacher who has suddenly been told that you need to "differentiate" your reading, English, or language arts instruction? You are probably looking for worksheets and materials to help you comply with this unfamiliar concept, and I've got just the thing.

Differentiating instruction seems challenging and overwhelming, but it doesn't really have to be. Just follow these simple steps and use the worksheets below. You too can provide differentiated instruction in a simple and effective way.

  1. Put students into small groups and assign them a story to read.
  2. Give each group one of these worksheets.
  3. Guide student groups as needed.
  4. Assign students another story and a different worksheet.
  5. Modify the approach as necessary and repeat.
Identifying Climax, Story Structure, and Elements of a Story
As with all my differentiated instruction worksheets, this can be applied to most stories. It asks students to identify the setting, main characters, conflict, and the narrative structure of the story (rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution); however, make sure that the story follows this typical pattern. Or else you may assign students a task that they cannot complete.
This is a preview image of Identifying Climax, Story Structure, and Elements of a Story. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Identifying Facts and Opinions
In this differentiated instruction worksheet, students identify statements of fact and opinion from the text. Then they create statements of fact and opinion about the text.
This is a preview image of Identifying Facts and Opinions. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Summarizing and Recognizing Narrative Sequence
With this activity, students not only provide a summary of important events in the story, but they also explain why they think each event is important. Additionally, they order the events at the bottom of the sheet using a graphic organizer. This one can be used with any story.
This is a preview image of Summarizing and Recognizing Narrative Sequence. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Character Traits and Motivations
In this differentiated instruction activity, students will analyze characters from a text and identify character traits. Then they will explain how they know this about the character and also identify what motivates the character.
This is a preview image of Character Traits and Motivations. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Figurative Language Finder
This differentiated instruction activity sheet will help guide students in the hunt to locate instances of figurative language from a text of your choosing. Be sure that the text with which you assign this activity sheet actually contains the required amount of figurative language usages, or else edit the worksheet to modify accordingly.
This is a preview image of Figurative Language Finder. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Poetic Devices and Techniques Finder
In this differentiated instruction activity, students locate instances of alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia, rhythm, and rhyme with a text of your choosing. As with the figurative language finder activity, be sure that the text which you assign has an appropriate amount of techniques before you assign it. This activity will work best with poetry.
This is a preview image of Poetic Devices and Techniques Finder. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Comprehension and Inference Question Creator
This differentiated instruction worksheet will provide students with a guide in creating their own questions about a text of your choosing. Students will create seven comprehension questions and three inference questions. Feel free to remove the inference questions component to modify this assignment for struggling learners.
This is a preview image of Comprehension and Inference Question Creator. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Vocabulary Builder
In this differentiated instruction worksheet, students select challenging vocabulary words from a text of your choosing. Then they write the sentences in which they were used and attempt to determine the meaning of the word based on the context. Also, they explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Vocabulary Builder. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

I hope that these resources will help you differentiate your instruction and work more effectively with small groups of students.

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  1. Irene

     /  April 1, 2022

    Hello !! I´m a Colombian English teacher… and I have to say… I LOVE this web site…. it has provided me with a huge variety of reading and grammar resources…. I don´t remember how long I have been using it… but Thanks form the bottom of my heart!!

  2. Samer

     /  May 19, 2019

    Just Amazing!

  3. Samantha

     /  October 19, 2018

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Use these resources weekly.

  4. Mr.mr

     /  November 29, 2017

    I have a complaint, this website did not revive my dog… now i am MAD >:(

  5. Anita B.

     /  September 8, 2017

    Absolutely incredible resources! You’ve saved hundreds of hours to be with my family. God Bless!

  6. Javan countee

     /  January 19, 2016

    Awsome website

  7. L.E.B.

     /  January 9, 2016

    I’ve been teaching for twenty years but only back in the English classroom this year (at a new school) trying to teach myself to navigate the world of Common Core. I have developed a number of stress-related health issues all stemming from the sleepless nights I’ve had to endure trying to develop Common Core aligned lessons to meet my students’ needs to prepare for the high-stakes testing this spring. The pressure has been relentless. What a God-send you are! Your lessons are well-designed, rigorous, and varied. I think you may have extended my lifespan this school year! Thank you, sir.

  8. Lisa Green-Clancey

     /  November 10, 2015

    I have used this site for two years and have passed it on to my colleagues. We are, as a fellow teacher put it, “obsessed”. This is WONDERFUL and I can’t tell you enough how much this amazing resource is appreciated!

  9. Deb

     /  July 10, 2015

    You are so very generous for doing this for us teachers. I hope you continue to be blessed.

  10. Kelly Roman

     /  December 8, 2013

    Mr. Morton,

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful website. I have used it for 2 years now, both in teaching general education as well as with special education students.

    Thank you again, for not only creating this website but also for keeping it free for all.


    • Thank you so much for saying so.

      You’re going to love the new content,
      if I can ever find the time to upload it…

      Thanks again,

  11. Dana Danna

     /  October 10, 2013

    This website has been an asset to me while transitioning to the Common Core curriculum. Thank you so much!!!

  12. Alana

     /  September 17, 2013

    This site has been a huge help in the transition to common core. Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. GREAT!
    A + !

  14. Rachel

     /  February 6, 2013

    Wow, what great resources! Thanks so much for sharing with others. I can’t wait to use these tomorrow with my guided reading groups. Again, thanks!

  15. Meg

     /  November 11, 2012

    Thanks–I teach fully sheltered ESL classes in language arts and Reading. I used these last year and look forward to using them again this year, especially the figurative language sheets–they just save me the time of looking for the examples myself. Thanks again!!

  16. Sheila

     /  October 10, 2012

    Excellent,thses worksheets are great and very helpful.

  17. Cloewen

     /  August 4, 2012

    Really like those worksheets here,thanks a lot!

  18. Kate

     /  May 23, 2012

    This is exactly what I needed for book clubs. Thanks a million!

  19. Samar

     /  April 27, 2012

    I like all the worksheets , they are very useful.

    • Thanks. I’ve got a bunch of mini-projects that could be used with any story too that I’d like to add here. Maybe this weekend. Thanks for visiting!


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