M5U3A2 – Differentiating for and Anticipating Student Needs




In this activity, I will discuss how I would differentiate instruction for students with dyslexia. Dyslexia falls under the category of special disabilities and is a disorder in one or more of the psychological processes involved in spoken and/or written language. It can inhibit the ability to think, speak, write, read, listen, or do math. While I have not knowingly taught any students with dyslexia, it is a common enough disorder that I can expect to come across it at least once in the near future.

To differentiate instruction for students with dyslexia, I would set aside time before, during, or after class to help those students with the areas they’re struggling in. This could be proper pronunciation, stuttering, reading fluency, etc. With dyslexia, the students are most likely having difficulty reading, so one resource that could help is text to speech software. Another resource is audio books. Both of these can take some of the pressure off the students’ reading ability and help them progress at their pace. In addition, voice recognition software combined with portable word processors have helped many students with dyslexia improve their writing. These recommendations, of course, are contingent on these resources being available. If they’re not, counseling services may be a more realistic option.

Next, I’ll discuss different levels of readiness in an EFL class. Obviously, all of these students are ELLs, but even in the advanced classes, their ability levels can vary widely. For example, I have fifteen 4th grade students in my advanced class this semester. Some are near fluent and others have difficulty putting complex sentences together in spoken or written form. To begin to address this, I use a lot of pictures or short videos (even .gifs) to explain vocabulary or topics. I start with simple comprehension questions and add on difficulty. I’ll use bonus questions for the higher-level students or pair them with lower level students for an extra boost. If through formative assessment, I discover that some of the students are still not grasping the material, I’ll either reteach it during that lesson or the next. Lesson planning is the best place to think of different ways to present content to address different learning styles. For example, if a text box and comprehension check don’t produce results for some students, try again with a picture or having the students who do understand act it out, when applicable. Not every scenario can be planned for, so if I run out of ideas during one lesson and some students still are not comprehending the objective material, I’ll make a note of it and address it the next day in a new way. As with dyslexia, text to speech software, voice recognition, and portable word processors are very useful for ELLs.

Plan for Modification:




  1. Conrad, J., M.S., N.C.S.P. (2013, October 3). Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses in L.D. Identification. Retrieved May 1, 2017, from http://www.oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/2013fallconference/patternsstrengthsweaknesses.pdf

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