Reading is an interactive process that allows students to use prior knowledge to make connections to text. This process allows students to make everyday connections to what is read daily. This interactive process is different for all students, but each student needs to experience a variety of strategies when learning. I believe that all students are unique in their own way of learning, but all students need a variety of strategies they can use and can add to their learning toolbox to use throughout their lives. Students will experience a variety of strategies when participating in a classroom that uses a balanced literacy program. A balanced literacy program will allow the students to incorporate both reading and writing. Throughout the balanced literacy program the students will be part of effective teaching strategies which will incorporate both small group and whole class instruction and will help each individual student at his/her achievement level. During small group and whole class instruction the students will learn from the teacher modeling correct reading and writing strategies and skills. When students are able to see the correct way to use a skill before trying it on their own, it will help them feel more successful before they even start. When students feel successful they are going to be more likely to continue working toward their highest potential.
What is a Balanced Literacy Program?
A balanced literacy program is a program that incorporate a variety of reading experiences.
Reading aloud to children.
Working with Words
A balanced literacy program is a program that incorporates a variety of writing experiences.
Working with Words
A balanced literacy program is set up to help all students to become successful readers and writers. A balanced literacy program understands that children need a variety of ways to help them become successful readers and writers. The students will spend around 120 minutes a day on literacy development!
What is my child going to be doing during the 120 minutes of literacy time? GR- Guided Reading (30 Minutes) WWW- Working With Words (20 Minutes) W- Writing (30 Minutes) SSR- Self-Selected Reading (30 Minutes) TRA- Teacher Read Aloud (10 Minutes)
Reading aloud to children
Children are read books at school, but it is also a great activity for you to do at home with your child. This helps children to be introduced to a variety of genres, but also allows children to hear how to read with expression. Parents and teachers are good role models for children when it comes to reading!
This is an interactive type of reading. It can include choral reading, echo reading, or many other types of reading used in the classroom. This is a time in which a variety of skills can be practiced in the classroom. It is also a time that can encourage students who might struggle when reading individually.
This is a type of reading that can be done in small groups. During guided reading basal stories can be used and a variety of skills can be taught. A teacher will work with a small group of students that all need to focus on the same skill. These groups use a variety of reading material and the groups can be changed frequently. The main focus skill that will be taught during guided reading is comprehension.
This is a time when students select their own books and read independently. This is a time that students can enjoy literature!
During this time students and the teacher work together to create a story or message. The teacher models correct writing during this shared writing time. After the writing is completed the students can make illustrations for the story or message the class created.
This type of writing can be done with the entire class and the teacher or with a small group. The teacher writes down the ideas or thoughts of the whole group and works down to students sharing in pairs.
This is a time when students write independently and are encouraged to write about the topic of their choice.
Working With Words
Why is working with words under both Reading and Writing experiences?
During this period of time the students will work on word attack skills. They will learn how to decode words and will work with vocabulary words. These skills will help students to become successful readers!
During this period of time the main skills the students will work on phonics, phonemic awareness, and spelling. These are all skills that will be helpful in student writing. The more practice students receive with phonics, phonemic awareness, and spelling the more the students will succeed in reading in writing.
The working with words part of our day, helps us to see how closely reading and writing are connected!
Who will my child have to work with?
Your child will work in a variety of different groups within our balanced literacy program. These groups will be flexible and will change often.
The students will work with their entire classroom during shared reading and writing.
Small groups will be used during guided reading and interactive writing. These groups will be determined by a variety of characteristics.
Students needing to focus on the same skills
Students with the same ability level
Mixed ability grouping
Working with Partners
How will the students be assessed?
The students will be assessed on reading and writing skills in a variety of different ways.
Reading Comprehension Assessment
Students will have a weekly comprehension assessment.
Assessments will include multiple choice questions, open ended questions where students will have to answer questions in complete sentences, and questions where students will have to draw conclusions from what they have read.
I will make observations of student progress on a daily basis.
When observing I will look for student progress, students working on task, students working up to ability, and for students that are still struggling and may need extra 1-on-1 assistance or another small group instruction.
This is a standardized test your child will take each Spring, and it will assess your child on the Indiana Academic Standards.
Rubrics will be used to assess students’ reading and writing. Rubrics allow students to know in advance what the expectations are before they start an assignment.
Example of an Independent Reading Project Rubric. http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen= ShowRubric&module = Rubistar&rubric_id =1888291&
Grades will be given based on students’ comprehension assessments, daily participation observed by the teacher daily, and through the grades earned on reading and writing rubrics.
How Can You Help Your Child?
There are many different activities that can be done at home to help your child to be successful at school.
Please open your Family Literacy Brochure and look at all the different ideas included within the brochure. There are some fun activities in the brochure that your child will enjoy doing at home.
Please try to do some of the activities in the brochure each night with your child. It will be good bonding time while your child is learning!
The following is a link to a Parent Guide to a Balanced Literacy Program
The following is a link for Online Literacy Games
There are also ways that you can help with your child’s literacy development at school.
I am always looking for volunteers to come in to work in small reading groups. It is not always possible for me to read with each group daily, so I like to have another adult to read with groups.
Another way to help your child’s literacy development at school is to make sure your child is prepared for class daily. It is important that your child has done practice readings on his/her weekly story, this will help your child when practicing reading in class.
Resources for Presentation
A Balanced Literacy Program. Edmonds School District. (2004). Retrieved April 8, 2010, from http://staff.edmonds.wednet.edu/tl/Elem/pdefs/instructpract/BalancedLit.pdf
" Balanced Literacy." Retrieved April 5, 2010, from http://www.csdarchives.com/teachers/rstewart/k2002/Teachers/Balanced_Literacy/balancedliteracy.htm
Online Literacy Activities . (2009). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.boardman.k12.oh.us/bdms/golubic/onlineliteracy.htm
Strickland, Dorothy. "Balanced Literacy: Teaching the Skills AND Thrills of Reading." Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/teachstrat/balanced.htm
What Is Balanced Literacy? Instructional Strategies (2004-2009). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/de/pd/instr/strats/balancedliteracy/index.html