- Diversity means more than just ethnic and cultural
differences. It encompasses a wide range of characteristics,
including (among others) gender, linguistic background,
socio-economic situation, family life, religion, interests,
physical or emotional challenges, skills and abilities,
and life experiences.
- Even the most homogenous-appearing group of students reflects
- Diversity is an important contributing factor in the envisionment-building
- Instruction designed to allow learners to draw on their
own circumstances when interacting with texts provides the
group with a rich array of personal and unique perspectives.
- For teachers, the diversity present in all classrooms
provides both challenges and exciting opportunities for
- Multiple perspectives in response to a text generate multiple
interpretations. In turn, multiple interpretations generate
deeper and more thoughtful responses than occur when each
student reads in the isolation of his or her own circumstance.
- Envisionment-building teachers make sure students know
their unique perspectives are appreciated. Additionally,
they may plan activities to foreground or enhance those
perspectives in order to enrich discussion and broaden understandings.
- Envisionment-building teachers encourage students to share
their various interpretations, explore them, and use them
to enrich one another's interpretations of a text. In this
way, when students recognize and understand the different
viewpoints presented by their classmates, they learn from
- Readers rely on their individual backgrounds as they make
meaning from texts. As they share their meanings with others,
their initial understandings can be enhanced or reinterpreted.
- Recognizing and exploring multiple perspectives leads
students to challenge their existing beliefs and broaden
their world views.
- Because it presents a vast array of human experiences,
literature provides an excellent avenue for exploring human
diversity, particularly in communities with somewhat homogenous
- Diverse texts and students' responses to them can help
students discover commonalties between themselves and others
who, superficially, may appear very different.
- Because of differing life experiences, everybody has opportunities
to connect with texts in different ways. As a result, students
working in mixed-ability groups hear many ideas that help
them develop their own thinking.
- Inclusion classrooms present teachers with particular
challenges as they seek to meet the intellectual, emotional,
and physical needs of each student while promoting deeper
understandings for every student.
- Many teachers use reading aloud to help all readers understand
ways in which texts might be read while enabling them to
participate fully in literature discussions.
- Buddy reading, or peer tutoring where two or three students
of varying abilities work together, is another tool to blend
students into a single community of learners.
- Conversation around a text that includes all students
develops a classroom into a community.
- Readers' theater (story theater) is another strategy for
supporting struggling readers and enabling their participation
in the conversation.
- Reading aloud can help students develop their comprehension.
- Tag reading (also known as jump-in reading, or popcorn
reading), allowing students to choose how to share the reading
task and when to stop, is a useful way to have students
- Envisionment-building classrooms offer learning experiences
that are broad enough and thought-provoking enough so that
every student can participate and have their own thinking
pushed beyond where it was when they came to class.
- Modifying texts for weaker readers is rarely an effective
- Inclusion classrooms with students with special needs
benefit from additional personnel to offer needed support.