Not This But That: Reading Differentiation

It's no secret that I'm a BIG fan of Heinemann's Not This, But That series.  It's top notch PD learning presented precisely and concisely (code for short and to the point.)  These books may be small, but they pack a big punch.
Each book follows a predictable layout:

Not This: This section is an overview of a common instruction practice.

Why Not? What Works?: The second section of the book focuses on what we know about best practice for the topic.

But That: And the final section focuses on implementation of these ideas in our classrooms.

Here are some of the titles available:
This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links and allows me feed my book habit!

You can see a full list from Heinemann here and here's an Amazon list if you like getting books in 2 days.  #primespoiledmeforlife

This month I read No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation by Lynn Geronemus Bigelman and Debra S. Peterson.  It was a clear cut look at reading differentiation-what it is/isn't, why it works, and what it looks like in real classrooms.
No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation: Reading differentiation what, why, and how in one small book.

Differentiation is one of those words that gets thrown around in education with little to no support for teachers.  There are a lot of people telling teachers to differentiate but not nearly enough support for what that actually looks like.

**If you want to know more about differentiation, Carol Ann Tomlinson is a guru.  This short article written by her for Reading Rockets is a great overview.


Because one size fits all curriculums are planned for imaginary children, not the children that enter your classroom door.  And because we know differentiation is important, but the path to implementation is foggy.

Aha Moment

I love this quote.  "Studies by Taylor and colleagues found that the more teachers engaged students in higher-level talk and writing about texts, the more growth and achievement they had on standardized reading tests."

1.  Soooo, if you build it (or provide the opportunity and support for it), they will come.  Yes, kids are initially terrible at higher-level talk but encouraging them, modeling talk, and providing opportunities will get them there.  It's worth the time investment.
2.  Let's ditch the test prep worksheets and have more higher-level talk and writing about texts.

I Wish

I really wish I had more technology available in my classroom.  I feel like Seesaw would be an incredible tool to utilize for the gathering and interpreting evidence as well as allowing students to document their progress.  This is a tool I'm going to dig into more this year.

Don't Miss

The sentence scaffolds for talk on page 42 are awesome.  The importance of talk is emphasized over and over throughout the book.  We have to guide students to understand what meaningful talk looks like and sounds like, and this chart is a perfect resource for that.  "Learning floats on a sea of talk," (Douglas Barnes), and this chart will help your students do that.

Good For . . .

Any reading teacher, reading specialist, administrator, or anyone that has a hand in selecting curriculum, designing assessments, or evaluating teachers.  So, everyone that has any connection to kids who read.

Wise Words

I hope you make a little time to squeeze No More Reading Instruction Without Differentiation into your already full life.  I know you're already overloaded but taking time to evaluate what we're doing with our students makes those precious instructional minutes count even more.