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Easy Reading Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms - Part 1

Janelle Cox

Reading Strategies for Inclusive Classroom

The first in a two part series of reading strategies

The main challenge that inclusion teachers have is meeting the needs of all learners. With every child learning at their own pace, and with each having their own strengths and needs, classroom teachers may find it difficult to find reading strategies that work for all students.

The following reading strategies are meant to create a single instructional approach that addresses all the students' needs in class, rather than just the students with special needs.

Multisensory Approach to Reading

The Multisensory approach is based upon the idea that when children use more than two of their senses, they will process and retain information quicker. To insure the success of all learners, this method has children using kinesthetic and tactile stimulation along with using their visual and auditory senses. This is referred to as VAKT (Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic-Tactile).

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Benefits of the Approach

In order to make an optimal learning environment for all students, inclusion teachers that use the Multisensory approach to reading will see that every child in the classroom will benefit from this strategy. Teachers will notice their students' attention will increase, and because they are utilizing a variety of their senses, this method will address the needs of each student.

Informal Methods Using the Approach

Making Words with Tiles

For this activity you will need alphabet tiles. You can buy them at the store or make your own. Scrabble letters seem to work well, or just print out the letters of the alphabet and cut them into squares and laminate them for durability. Have the student make words with the tiles, saying each sound and blending as he/she places the tile on the board. After making the word, have the student say the whole word and use their finger to track as they read it.

This activity integrates visual, auditory, kinesthetic and oral processes to help students master reading. It also helps develop phonologic processing and blending, as well as helps establish a link between words and sounds.

Shaving Cream Writing

Place a dollop of shaving cream on a pan or baking sheet, and have students write a word using their finger in the shaving cream. While they are writing each letter, they should say the name of the letter, its sound, and then read the whole word aloud.

This activity uses a variety of senses to benefit all learning types. Students use their hands to physically create words, their eyes to visually see what they are making, and their ears to hear the words they are creating. This activity works well with sand and rice, too. 

Imagery Instruction

The Imagery instruction strategy is similar to the Multisensory strategy as it presents learners with a variety of modalities. This method uses sensory images to increase comprehension and background knowledge of the students.

Benefits of the Strategy

All learners can benefit from this method because it draws on the personal experiences of the learner. When students use imagery, it increases comprehension by encouraging students to use their own personal knowledge and experiences to help process and understand information.

Example Lesson

For this lesson encourage students to draw upon their own experiences by imagining feelings, smells, tastes and surroundings.


  1. Choose a book such as, "I took a Walk" or "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and show the students the cover of it.
  2. Explain where the character in the book is going.
  3. Have the students close their eyes and imagine what that would look like.
  4. Ask questions like, "How do you feel?", "What do you smell?" etc.
  5. Have students open eyes and start reading the first part of the book.
  6. Stop and talk about what they saw in their head compared to what happened in the story.
  7. Repeat procedure throughout the book.

Whether you're looking for reading strategies for an inclusive classroom or just looking to switch things up in your typical classroom, these strategies are easy to incorporate in any class. Three more strategies await in the second part of this article series, coming soon. 

What are your favorite reading strategies? Share in the comment section below.



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