Content refers to what the student should know, understand and be able to do. It includes both what the student needs to learn and how the student gains access to the content.


In Elementary ELA, the content is the essential knowledge laid out in the EELA program and Progression of Learning.

In Secondary ELA, the content is the essential knowledge laid out in the SELA 1 and SELA 2 programs and Progression of Learning.

This knowledge includes the strategies, skills and understandings that are fundamental to the development of literacy.

All of our students work toward understanding the same essential knowledge. This cannot be changed. What is most likely to change, however, is the complexity of the content and how the students gain access to this essential knowledge. Here are some ideas for differentiating content:

  • Provide options for book choices at varied levels of complexity and readability.

  • Present material through auditory, visual and kinesthetic modes e.g. when teaching a new concept use visual materials as well as talk, have students act out the plot of a story, etc.

  • Help students activate prior knowledge i.e. connect what they know to new learning:

  • Use student questions and interests as jumping off points for teaching.

  • Use strategies such as wait time and think-pair-share to get more students actively involved.

  • Use flexible student groupings.

  • Use mini lessons and small-group instruction e.g. to reteach a concept, extend thinking and challenge students who already have a good grasp of the content, etc.

  • Provide additional support for struggling readers, such as:

    • additional time to get through a class text

    • reading partners

    • audio or video recordings of texts

    • visual frameworks, such as graphic organizers

    • highlighting key passages in texts


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