Differently Abled and Differentiated
What HAPPY Reading Has for Me

The same guidelines for reading instruction and engagement apply for virtually all learners, even those with different abilities or special needs. In some cases, accommodations may be called for to facilitate the learning process. HAPPY Reading does not offer diagnosis or suggested treatment for learners who face special learning concerns. We do recognize, however, that all learners need instructors who are sensitive to their learning styles and preferences. HAPPY Reading hopes our approach… immersion in authentic literacy experiences that are enjoyable… will work for most if not all learners. We would like to point out that we recognize that learners who happen to have special challenges are still learners. We believe in emphasizing their strengths as learners and as human beings so that we build on those strengths.

As a HAPPY visitor, click on:


Each month we feature a prominent voice from the world of literacy education. These established researchers and practitioners offer their wisdom for your consideration and for possible implementation in your learning setting. Some of these articles relate to best practices for working with learners with different abilities or special needs.

The full text of each expert article is available to all guests of HAPPY Reading until the article archives. At that time, only registered members will retain access.


Permanent Articles

The Concise Science of Reading

For a solid review or overview of the process of acquiring reading skill… and for notes on best practices to pursue as all learners begin the reading journey, you may wish to begin with these articles. They are:

  • 5 Pillars
  • More Pillars
  • A Word About Standards
  • Reading Motivation
  • Word Study, Leveled Reading and Vocabulary
  • Outside the Book
  • Parent Involvement

They can all be found under the Resources tab, just below the calendar area and the monthly articles:

Recommended Professional Books
There are several books related to understanding word study, leveled reading, and effective vocabulary instruction. These are located at the bottom of the Resources page. Words Their Way, Word Journeys, Guided Reading, and Bringing Words to Life will all offer some insight on helping children achieve a concept of word-- the milestone that signals the beginning of the real reading of text—and moving through the stages of early reading, writing and understanding to more confident skills in all these areas. Links to purchase these books are located at the bottom of the Resources page.

Monthly Articles

These articles update monthly under the permanent, umbrella headings. Those headings, current articles and places of origin are:

School-Wide Reading
Current Article-If You Build It Up, They Will Read (Connecticut)
Surrogate Librarian
Current Article-Books on Wheels (Illinois)
Book-Inspired Art
Current Article-The Snowball Effect (Michigan)
Books As Bridges
Current Article-Blanketed in Kindness (Florida and Louisiana)
Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking
Current Article-A Dramatic Difference (North Carolina)
Book-Inspired Community Service
Current Article-Love and Sandwiches (Georgia)
Literacy for All Kinds of Intelligence
Current Article-Naturally Smart (Florida)

Read here for ideas and inspiration and to spark your own imagination. Some ideas will be immediately transferrable and others you can adapt for your differently-abled readers. These articles are located on the Resources page, immediately below the calendar area.www.happyreading.org/Resources.htm

Monthly articles are viewable for all visitors while they are current. Once archived, only registered members retain access.

Instructional Materials Library Free Samples
HAPPY Reading instructional materials currently include poems and reader’s theater scripts that are aligned with content objectives and standards. They are leveled and aligned with word study (spelling) goals, as well. Leveled poems and reader’s theater scripts when read and re-read, as a regular part of a language arts routine, as a regular activity in a content classroom, as a regular activity at home or in a home school classroom, as a regular activity in a library or community group setting can improve fluency significantly. There are also opportunities to improve vocabulary, word study (spelling) skill, engagement, and much more. A Detail page accompanying each script spells out the target content and standards, word study feature(s) including sight words, and levels. You’ll also find a book recommended for reading aloud to support the content objective(s). Higher level thinking and writing activities are suggested here, as well, but these are available only for registered members (beginning in September 2011). Free samples of scripts with Detail pages as well as poems with their affiliated instructional support pages (T1,T2,T3) are available to all visitors, but access to all poems and scripts is reserved for members.

To access the FREE poems and scripts, go to:

Suggestions on how to use these poems to support instruction, including for fluency:


Suggestions on how to use these reader’s theater scripts to support instruction, including for fluency:


FREE samples are our gift to you. We hope you use them frequently and well for the enjoyment and education of your learners. If you wish to have unlimited access to our library’s holdings, you may become a registered member. Currently, we have thousands of pages of poems, reader’s theater scripts and companion Detail pages that highlight alignment with content and standards. We add new materials each month.


Featured Celebrity
Those who rise to prominence in any endeavor… but especially in athletics and the arts… are often those who learn differently from most. The stories of trial and triumph offered by readers and writers who also happen to be celebrities can be informative and affecting for all of us. Some of these stories will appeal deeply to adult learners and those who help teach them.
Currently Featured- LeVar Burton

Featured Author or Illustrator
Get to know the authors and illustrators who entertain and educate us with the immense talents. Plan author study around the current artist of honor and appreciate their contributions to the world of literacy. Inspire the writer, artist, and learner inside your children or students with the stories of the storytellers.
Currently Featured-Sarah Weeks
Not only is she a prolific writer; she’s also an avid reader’s theater producer and performer!

Featured Parent
Whether you are a classroom teacher, a home school instructor, a parent or more than one of these… interviews with our featured parents are full of ideas and commonalities we share as we nurture learners. Look here for ideas, for smiles and for ways to bridge the expanse between home and school.
Currently Featured- Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland of California

Featured Adult Learner
Though each learner’s story is different, certainly there are themes that every learner will recognize. Read about this month’s featured learner and find encouragement to keep after the coveted goals. These profiles are ideal for educators to share with their learners. Even very young learners can appreciate that learning is for a lifetime, and there is no substitute for determination. Some of these stories may be appropriate to share with them, so they understand the value of an education.
Currently Featured-George Dawson of Texas

Featured Educator
Watch this area for exemplary educators, including those who teach beginning readers. Note their philosophies and their methods and decide if they might provide some modeling for what more you can do with your own students.
Currently Featured- Brad Shonk of Mississippi

Access to all of these profiles is available at:

Profiles can be read by all visitors to HAPPY Reading while they are still current. After that time, they archive and you must be a registered member to enjoy the full text of each profile.

HAPPY is pleased to recommend a wide assortment of books that make great read-alouds. Reading aloud allows more experienced readers to model fluency for less skilled readers. Exposure to engaging literature also increases the likelihood that listeners will choose to read on their own, which can lead to greater fluency and overall proficiency. Some of the books are classic, some new, some tried-and-true with readers and audiences. All our picture book, early chapter and easy reader picks come with some sort of instructional suggestion… usually related to word study. These descriptions are available while the books are still among our current picks. For archived descriptions, you must be a registered member.

For your convenience, you can buy books through the site by clicking on the icon for the store you wish to use. All financial transactions are handled by these reputable retailers. You may also click to find books in your nearest, local library. Shared reading among young learners gives them a dramatic advantage when it comes to becoming skilled readers. And we believe it is NEVER too late to read aloud with learners of any age. As C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty.”

Find Books at http://happyreading.org/Books.htm

As a registered HAPPY member, you get:



Services from HAPPY

Instructional Materials Library
This includes instantly available downloads of thousands of pages of leveled poem and reader’s theater scripts. Repeated readings of poems and scripts at the appropriate level for the reader are virtually guaranteed to improve fluency. Material is written with content standards in mind AND to support literacy growth across the life span for learners in a variety of settings and circumstances. Coming in 2012, HAPPY has a grouping of poems that celebrates the strengths of learners who face challenges that most of us do not. Only members have access to the full instructional materials library via the LOGIN button. Or you may register to become a member here: http://happyreading.org/Register.aspx

Members only Archive
All features—including articles, profiles and interviews—are still available after they’ve archived when you are a registered member. You might be interested in the following as it pertains to early learners:

HAPPY52 Tips
Members only receive weekly delivery of Reading Raves and Reminders in their e-mail to help keep teaching practices sharp and student skill sharper. Some of these tips are related to differently-abled learners.

Coming in late summer/early fall, this one of a kind resource will help you to connect real, high quality children’s literature with essential instructional goals. You’ll also be able to create text sets and identify books by author, illustrator, series, content area, reading level and much more. Improved fluency, vocabulary enhancement and strengthened engagement are among the benefits of reading aloud from carefully selected books and from students’ repeated reading of books at the right instructional or independent reading level. Join at today’s low price and make your HAPPY Reading experience even more of a great value for you and your students.

Members also get HAPPY Services-- including HAPPY Primary, READ UP, WORD, HAPPY Preschool, HAPPY Transitions and Bibliotherapy-- at special pricing. Workshops for both parents and education professionals are also available at discounted pricing. Write lovebooks@happyreading.org to inquire and discuss specific needs.


Registering as a member gives you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve joined a community of educators, learners, leaders and book lovers who are all about exploring better and more effective ways to coach learners to greater success. When you are at work, HAPPY Reading will be available to work alongside you to help reach higher goals. When you’re not at work, HAPPY Reading will be working steadily to bring you more stories of excellence and creative approaches to learning that will be ready when you are. Join us.

Becoming a registered member costs just pennies a day, per student. Some people spend more than this amount on a single book that may have much more limited use. You can purchase up to three years of membership at the low, introductory price. Schools and divisions may also purchase for up to three years at this same per-license rate. And referring friends, colleagues, other schools or other divisions can lead to even greater benefits for you and for them.

Special introductory price: $39.99. To register: http://happyreading.org/Register.aspx

We are HAPPY to entertain any questions:register@happyreading.org