Balanced Literacy

A Model for Balanced Literacy Instruction K-5

Key Components:

Skill Building: The teacher guides students in phonemic awareness, word study, phonics, vocabulary, and fluency instruction.

Modeled Reading: The teacher reads aloud a short piece of text. The teacher models a strategy in Think Alouds. He/she reveals his/her thinking processes including use of comprehension strategies during reading.

Shared Reading: As the teacher reads a challenging text, the teacher involves students in the process of a Think Aloud. The students think along with the teacher.  

Guided Reading: The teacher interacts with small groups of students as they read silently or whisper read a book at their instructional level. The teacher coaches students in a comprehension or word solving strategy.

Guided Reading is...

  • using leveled reading materials to support each reader at his/her level.
  • working with a small group of students with a common need.
  • having students reread the same text several times to gain fluency.
  • modeling what good readers do:  predicting, clarifying, questioning, summarizing, self-monitoring, visualizing, making connections, synthesizing, and using word solving strategies.
  • writing to make meaning of the text.
  • changing group membership often by reassessing the needs and progress of students.

Teacher Read Aloud: The teacher exposes students to high quality text with robust vocabulary in uninterrupted reading.

Power Hour

Oakwood, Grades 1-2

All students will receive grade level literacy instruction during the Skill Building and Shared & Modeled Reading Blocks. In addition, one hour is devoted to ‘Power Hour.’ Power Hour includes guided reading instruction and authentic literacy center activities. During Power Hour, skills and strategies introduced in the whole group will be practiced during small group instruction and independent reading.

During the guided reading portion of Power Hour students will be grouped based on their instructional reading level. Groups will be adjusted periodically in accordance to student needs and progress.

Harcourt Trophies and STORYtown:

Trophies and STORYtown, from Harcourt publishers, are both aligned with the Illinois standards and will provide the scope and sequence of instruction for students K-2. They will be used as resources for phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension instruction. They will not be used as the core reading material, but will be used as one of many student and teacher resources.

Parents should not expect the student reading book to be sent home on a regular basis. Other materials, geared towards each student’s reading level and particular needs, will be used to differentiate the curriculum for all learners.

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