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Differentiating For Success: "How to Build Literacy Instruction for All Students" Provides Teachers the Right Tools to Build Literary Success Strategies for All Students at All Reading Levels


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—June 9, 2016—Capstone Professional, publisher of professional development resources and services for preK−12 educators, announces the publication of Differentiating for Success: How to Build Literacy Instruction for All Students. This foundational book for teachers of grades 3−5 explains how to provide meaningful differentiation in instruction to children at all reading levels. 

Creating differentiated instruction is an essential—yet time-consuming—component of effective teaching. Since students learn at different paces and in different ways, some students may be able to apply a targeted comprehension skill in cognitively complex ways immediately after being taught the skill while other students may need additional scaffolding in order to grasp it.  

All students, regardless of their skill level, benefit from activities that are at their “just right” level. This means activities are not too difficult or too easy. In this book, Nancy Witherell and Mary McMackin share easy-to-follow lesson plans that address key reading skills for students in grades 3 to 5. A set of three, tiered, differentiated follow-up activities accompanies each lesson. Fiction and nonfiction mentor text suggestions are included.

“Our work on differentiation in the classroom stems from our wish to meet the needs of all students,” say authors Nancy Witherell and Mary McMackin. “We all know that struggling readers need support, solid readers need challenge, and advanced students need a chance to learn at a more complex level. The lessons we offer here simplify differentiating instructional activities for your class and foster your students’ thinking whether you are teaching solo or are lucky enough to have classroom help. We guide you through directed lessons and help you with the tools and materials needed to more easily differentiate content (skills and concepts), process (activities), and product (how students demonstrate understanding).”

Previews of the book, including a table of contents, introductions, and sample chapter on “how to distinguish main ideas and details” are available at:

“This is a must read for teachers interested in high-quality instruction for all of their students. The objectives are clear, yet unscripted so that we can teach within the spirit of who we are. Materials, model lessons, resources, and additional books are all listed for each and every lesson,” said Nancy Meagher, Reading Specialist, Barnstable Public Schools Hyannis, MA.

“This book is clearly organized, practical, and packed with great ideas! … The differentiation suggestions for three levels of students (initial, transitional and accomplished) are all manageable for a busy classroom teacher and the strategies for differentiating can easily be applied to other lessons and subject areas,” said Marlene Correia, EdD, District Instructional Coach, Lakeville, MA.

Differentiating For Success

By Nancy Witherell & Mary C. McMackin

ISBN: 978-1-4966-0653-2    

$29.95 paperback                  

192 pages


About the Authors

Dr. Nancy Witherell is a professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where she teaches literacy courses and is coordinator of student teachers for the department. Nancy is past president of her local reading council, the Massachusetts Association of College and University Reading Educators, and the Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA). In addition, Nancy has been MRA's State co-coordinator for the International Literacy Association (formerly IRA) for the past three years. Nancy has presented at numerous regional and national conferences. Besides the publication of numerous articles in such journals as The New England Reading Association Journal and The Reading Teacher, Nancy has co-authored seven books and solo-authored two books.

Dr. Mary C. McMackin is professor emerita from the Language and Literacy Division of the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University, where she taught graduate literacy courses for 20 years. Until recently, she served as the Lesley University coordinator of the Lesley/Urban Teacher Center partnership, a clinically based teacher preparation master’s degree program offered in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C. She was also the faculty mentor for the literacy courses in the Lesley/UTC partnership. Mary has co-authored nine literacy books for K–8 teachers and has published several articles in journals, such as The Reading Teacher, Phi Delta Kappan, and Childhood Education. Mary serves on the board of the Massachusetts Reading Association and has spoken at conferences across the United States.

About Capstone

Capstone is a leading publisher of children’s books, digital solutions and services, literacy programs, and K–12 professional development resources. Capstone creates content in a variety of print, digital and media formats for school libraries, classrooms, and at home reading. Professional development offerings are published under the Maupin House imprint. For more information, visit