If you have ever been to a child's birthday party, you know firsthand how different children are from each other. Imagine your five-year-old neighbor's Spider-Man-themed party. There may be games, food, cake, presents, and no matter how well all that is going, as soon as Spider-Man shows up, there is bound to be drama. Some children are going to be incredibly excited, some so scared they may start crying, some may not know who Spider-Man even is, and some will become instantly shy and want to hide behind their parent's legs.
Now imagine those same children in their kindergarten classroom. They may be equally as different when it comes to learning how to read. Differentiated instruction is the act of teaching individuals differently based on their needs, their interests, their readiness, and their strengths. The goal to have everyone learn how to read remains the same but how that happens depends on who the children in the class are.