Balanced Literacy

  • "Reading development does not take place in isolation; instead, a child develops simultaneously as a reader, listener, speaker, and writer. The emerging research is clear: Writing makes you a better reader and vice versa."
    -Kelly Gallagher, 2006

    Balanced literacy refers to the integration of reading, writing, and language/word study into the instructional literacy block. Fountas and Pinnell explain that "the three block framework, consisting of language and word study, reading workshop, and writing workshop, is a conceptual tool for organizing instruction. The framework is flexible, allowing numerous variations in content, student groupings, daily timeframes and the level of teacher-directed instruction."

    Instruction reinforces the gradual release of responsibility methodology. This approach provides developmentally-appropriate instruction that is thoughtfully scaffolded to allow students to become independent readers and writers. The overall goal is that students develop lifelong skills and motivation to become fluent, effective and purposeful readers, writers, and communicators. Ongoing assessments (such as running records, reading response, student reflection, Teachers College, etc.) inform instruction and measure student growth and achievement.

    "A balanced literacy plan is most effective when children are given direct instructional support and a variety of daily reading and writing experiences that are needed in the complex process of becoming independent readers and writers."
    Carol Bennett, WRESA

    Balanced Literacy Framework includes:

    • Balance between Writing Workshop/Language and Word Study/Reading Workshop
    • Balance to, with, and by (gradual release)
    • Balance of complex, instructional, and independent texts
    • Balance naming (mini lesson), experiencing (read alouds), and deepening (close reading) skills and strategies
    • Balance of whole class, small group, and 1:1 instruction
    • Balance of types of text experienced
    • Balance of comprehension, fluency and accuracy work
  • Reading Components

    • Read Aloud
    • Shared Reading
    • Research
    • Guided reading or focused instruction
    • Book Clubs, Literature Circles, Readers Theater
    • Independent Reading

    Students reading

    Language Development/Word Study

    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Sight Word Recognition
    • Spelling
    • Phonics
    • Word Structure Analysis
    • Grammar
    • Vocabulary Instruction
  • Writing Components

    • Writing Workshop/Process Writing
    • Modeled writing
    • Guided writing
    • Interactive or guided writing
    • Independent writing
    • Research
    • Daily Writing Opportunities

    Student Writing

    Listening and Speaking

    • Listening skills
    • Speaking skills and oral presentation
    • Conversations
    • Speaker’s perspective and reasoning
    • Evaluation and integration of information in diverse media