Appropriate Reading Instruction for Gifted Students
Gifted readers are those kids who read much earlier than expected and quickly progress to advanced reading levels. They enjoy reading, make good book selections, and display enthusiasm about reading. (S. Reis) Gifted readers read independently, read often, and are identified as having advanced language skills. (S. Reis)
Gifted readers possess unique reading needs. It is important to note first what they don’t need: drills on basic word and comprehension skills. Gifted readers need challenging material to remain engaged in the reading curriculum; easily turned off by too easy reading programs. They need level of difficulty to ‘match’ their ability based on their interests.
Learning experiences for gifted learners should encompass experiences that are meaningful and relevant to the student. (T. Johnson) All teachers involved in advanced reading programs should be well informed on best practices in gifted education and give serious consideration to all stakeholders’ concerns regarding the program including students. Student demographics including cultural diversity and generational characteristics must be incorporated into curriculum decisions.
Factors that should be considered in designing reading instruction for gifted learners are grounded in gifted programming standards. Gifted readers will not benefit from simple differentiation of existing reading programs. A wide spectrum of abilities exists in any regular education classroom. They will need a unique approach appropriate to their individual strengths. Reading programs may benefit from being included with cross-curriculum gifted options that are meant to increase depth and complexity, heighten anticipation and stimulate interest. (Reis/Renzulli)
What instructional strategies can be used to develop and enhance advanced reading skills? Reading books or readers commonly used in the classroom should be supplemented with literature or completely eliminated for advanced readers. Discussion groups can be formed that take a closer look – a deeper dive – into books and novels being used as part of the reading curriculum employing discussion guides and Socratic questioning. Teachers can introduce the study of literature at an early age (provided they how a strong background in literature) by teaching elements of literature and discussing how to analyze what is read.
When setting goals for an advanced reading program, every single student should be expected to become a skilled, passionate, habitual and critical reader. (B. Seney) When considering reading comprehension as a goal of an advanced reading program, the only delivery system to attain the best results is actually reading. Reading motivation should be an integral part of any advanced reading program and can include providing an extensive class library, in-class reading time, respecting student choice of reading materials, and suggested literature. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.
On a personal note … this week, marked the 9th year for #gtchat on Twitter!
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.