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Teaching Reading at the Independent or Instructional Level?

What are the arguments for teaching students at their instructional reading level, versus their independent or frustration level?

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Educators have long believed it is most beneficial to a student to teach them at their independent reading levels instead of their instructional or frustration levels. This is due to a belief that students will develop an unhealthy self-concept if they are constantly frustrated by reading material, or that they will simply "give up" and abandon the literacy experience. Similarly, if students are taught at their independent levels they may become bored, or unaccustomed to being challenged while reading. Educators have also worried about students developing a negative attitude towards reading if they find it too difficult or too easy, e.g. "Reading is boring", "I'd rather do anything besides read a book", "I'm just not a good reader".

More recently new ideas have been empirically tested and ...

Solution Summary

An analysis of the benefits and concerns associated with teaching a student at his or her instructional reading level versus their independent or frustration level.

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