A new study indicates that it is not beneficial for most students (English learners are one exception), to shift to easier texts to facilitate their reading — as long as you are ready to provide instructional support.
Meta-analyses indicate that it is effective to teach kids about multiple text structures, and that text structure instruction is particularly potent when writing, graphic organizers, and guidance on watching for “clue words” are included.
Instead of front-loading the first reading, you could try front-loading the second or third — after the kids have had a chance to “pedal the bike themselves” — even if that pedaling isn’t perfectly successful.
First, make sure the kids know what you are up to, that they have English dictionaries, and that they recognize what the challenge is. Rereading and background knowledge are particularly important scaffolds.
When kids get the opportunity to discuss something with a partner before responding to a teacher question, positive outcomes have been seen in the primary grades in reading and in the upper grades with second-language learners.