Make Your Classroom a Safe Space for Special Needs Students - Carolyn Burica, Veteran Educator


A common term used in educational environments, specifically classrooms. An inclusive classroom is a place where all students, at all learning levels, feel safe and secure. Students need a “safe space” where they can learn at their own pace without fear, shame or intimidation tactics. Is your classroom inclusive?

The importance of an inclusive classroom cannot be overstated:

“[…]…An inclusive classroom promotes a positive, emotional environment for students, …[…] by making them feel comfortable, happy and more confident. This, in turn, allows students to take risks and achieve their full potential (Leatherman & Niemeyer, 2005).”

Teachers need to quickly identify and intervene as soon as they recognize a potential reading weakness. They must have access to effective tools at their disposal to bring their students back to grade level. And, of course, both student and teacher need to work together in that student’s “Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)”—the place and space where students are appropriately challenged, yet not overwhelmed. And, that’s where Books That Grow can help.

Books That Grow has been specifically designed to meet the student’s ZPD, wherever that level happens to be. How? Books That Grow texts adapt to the student's reading ability. With Books That Grow, advanced and struggling readers can sit side-by-side and read the 'same' text, but at their individual reading level. That's inclusion.  As students improve in reading ability, their books adjust in complexity and difficulty (i.e., “grow”), with the addition of higher-level vocabulary, context, theme development, etc. And best of all, progress can be closely monitored by the classroom teacher. 

When lower-level students feel they are part of the reading discussions, that is “inclusion”. And, this is critical to building confidence and self-esteem:

[…] engagement that leads to sustained interaction and practice. Coaching, instruction, and feedback…[…] ensure that students develop good habits and increase their proficiency…

Taking Action on Adolescent Literacy by Judith L. Irvin, Julie Meltzer and Melinda S. Dukes

Books That Grow is valuable reading tools for all classrooms. Specifically designed, grade-level appropriate assessment questions help move them along at the proper pace. This boosts their self esteem, confidence and engagement, And, when struggling students are comfortable enough, then they begin to bloom—to grow. Just like Books That Grow.

For further information on how Books That Grow can help your students and children achieve, visit