Diversity and Differentiaton
What HAPPY Reading Has for Me

One of our favorite quotes came from a third grade teacher. He said, “Fair only means equal in math. In life, ‘fair’ is when each person gets exactly what that person needs.”

Learners are different and need different things…are interested in different things and come from different backgrounds. Effective educators, including parents, recognize this and seek to address different needs, interests and backgrounds appropriately.

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Monthly Articles

These articles update monthly under their 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)

Here you'll find a revolving, round-up of interesting approaches and fun things to try.  Articles address diverse needs of diverse learners every single month.  These articles are located on the Resources page, immediately below the calendar area.


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

Instructional Materials Library Free Samples
When it comes to reading differentiation, what could be better than allowing learners to spend their time in text that is appropriately leveled for them? And how much better is it when the text also fits their interests or other needs? How helpful is it when there are diverse characters… some of whom resemble the learner and some who look like potential friends? Diversity and differentiation are both central in creation of our learning materials. You may sample these for free:

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.

Program Creation and Management

For Schools

For Homeless Shelters

For Other Community Organizations


Each month, a respected voice in the world of literacy education brings us words of wisdom to consider and possibly to guide our interactions with the learners in our lives.


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 their 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 (and books for professional development, to). 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. 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. Please note, in particular, our sections on recommended multi-cultural and bilingual books. These descriptions are available while the books are still among our current picks. For archived descriptions, you must be a registered member.

In all the areas listed above, which you’ll find under our Expertise, Resources, Profiles and Books tabs, you’ll find a respect for and recognition of the fact that we are all different and we are all learners. You’ll find characters, books, advice and success stories reflective of our different hues, different abilities (or levels of readiness), different interests, different perspectives, different challenges and our similar, outstanding possibilities. We are all learners. Each of us is infinitely valuable. What we can accomplish is untold.

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Instructional Materials Library
This includes instantly available downloads of thousands of pages of leveled poems and reader’s theater scripts. 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. Registered members have access to standards- and content-related activities that accompany each script (beginning in the fall of 2011). These activities are meaningful endeavors to promote reading, writing and deep thinking related to content across the curriculum.

For emergent learners, see the First Fruits grouping of poems (they end with –FF) that promote healthy eating and knowledge of fruits and veggies for our youngest consumers.

For learners in urban settings, see our Cool School grouping of poems (they end with –CS) that reflect urban experiences and perspective. We appreciate that there is no ONE experience among urban students. But it is true that a large segment of America’s learning population has never seen what is familiar to them reflected in instructional materials. Cool School offers another view. From kids who value their swagger to the very hip Jamari who is cool AND SMART, many urban kids may finally have a steady stream of evidence-based materials that will help them to feel that school “gets” what life is like for them and that school is very much a cool place to be. Not all poems will apply to all learners, because even in urban settings, we’re not all the same. We are different and that, too, is quite cool.

The myth about rural people, especially those in the south, has been that they are slower and less intelligent than others. Obviously, this is not true. Our next grouping of poems, Country Time Rhyme, aims to include country dwellers and show aspects of their lives they may not have seen before in instructional materials. From the Brahma bull to the potato bin to the generational, family farm—Country Time Rhyme will appeal to kids who may have felt left out in instructional settings. Again, not all poems will resonate with all kids. We are different. But the experience of a large group of learners will finally take center stage in the classroom—affirming who they are and possibly teaching the rest of us something. Country Time Rhyme appears in August 2011.

More groupings are on the way, including Ice Breaker poems for English Language Learners. All of our special groupings will continue to grow beyond their introduction dates. And registered members who’d like to see something in particular among our offerings are encouraged to ask. We may be able to deliver just what you have in mind. We want educators and learners to know how valued they truly are.

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

Only members have access to full text of features and articles once they archive.

HAPPY52 Tips
As a member, you receive weekly delivery of Reading Raves and Reminders in your e-mail to help keep teaching practices sharp and student skill sharper. Some of these tips may relate to teaching with diversity in mind.

Coming in early fall, this one of a kind resource will help you to connect real, high-quality children’s literature with essential instructional goals and standards. If you are looking for children’s literature that aligns with specific content for your learner(s), the BookMine will help you find it. And once you find it, you’ll also get the full IRBY (Instructional Review of Books for Youth). This will show you specific ways to use the book to further your instructional goals (e.g. for word study). You’ll be able to search for books you currently own to see how you may use them not only for their inherent artistic, educational and entertainment value but also for more expansive academic purposes. The BookMine will allow you to identify books by author, illustrator, series, content area, reading level and much more.

Available separately, you’ll be able to purchase cards to facilitate thinking and discussion related to higher order thinking and related to specific content area knowledge. These are intended for use with reading aloud and will be available (fall of 2011) at a discount for registered members.

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