Assistant Director ELA
St. Clair County RESA
WHAT IS BALANCED LITERACY?
Work with a partner and develop a list of
what you believe balanced literacy is.
WHAT IS A BALANCED-LITERACY PROGRAM?
An approach for teaching literacy that is widely used in classrooms.
A comprehensive, differentiated approach to reading and writing
A Balanced-Literacy Program “combines explicit instruction, guided
practice, collaborative learning, and independent reading and writing”
(Tompkins, 2010) on a daily basis.
Teachers differentiate instruction based on student needs.
Balanced literacy incorporates all reading approaches realizing students
need to use multiple strategies to become proficient readers.
COMPONENTS OF A BALANCED LITERACY
Mini-lessons – Modeled
Small Group Instruction (guided
The teacher reads with the students when a book may be
at a too difficult reading level or comprehension level.
Students will have a chance to read books at their
comfort level during this time.
Read-alouds are a great means to model good reading—
fluency and use of strategies. Grand conversations can
occur during this time.
The teacher will guide small groups of students using
leveled readers during this time. Specific strategies and
skills will be taught.
THE COMPONENTS OF BALANCED LITERACY
READING/WRITING WORKSHOP COMPARISON
Teacher reads selections
aloud to students.
•Students are introduced to a
variety of texts
•Students hear fluent reading
•Teacher shares her thinking
•Students are provided with
quality writing models
•Creates a sense of community
What it Looks Like:
All Eyes on One Text
Repeated Readings of
New, Familiar and
Fluency and Phrasing
Love for reading
Teacher works with small, flexible groups of
children who have similar reading strengths &
Small groups at the same
Prepares students for the
next reading level
Teach the skills within
their instructional level
Books match their
instructional reading level
SMALL GROUP STRATEGY LESSONS
Small groups that are skill
Students may or may not
be at the same reading
Books match their
independent reading level
COMPARISON OF TRADITIONAL AND
GUIDED READING GROUPS
Traditional Reading Groups
Groups remain stable in composition.
Students progress through a specific
sequence of stories and skills.
Introductions focus on new vocabulary.
Skills practice follows reading.
Focus is on the lesson, not the student.
Teacher follows prepared "script" from the
Questions are generally limited to factual
Teacher is interpreter and checker of
Students take turn reading orally.
Focus is on decoding words.
Students respond to story in workbooks
or on prepared worksheets.
Readers are dependent on teacher
direction and support.
Students are tested on skills and literal
recall at the end of each story/unit.
Guided Reading Groups
Groups are dynamic, flexible, and change
on a regular basis.
Stories are chosen at appropriate level for
each group; there is no prescribed
Introductions focus on meaning with
some attention to new and interesting
Skills practice is embedded in shared
Focus is on the student, not the lesson.
Teacher and students actively interact with
Questions develop higher order thinking
skills and strategic reading. Teacher and
students interact with text to construct
Students read entire text silently or with a
Focus is on understanding meaning.
Students respond to story through
personal and authentic activities. Students
read independently and confidently.
Assessment is ongoing and embedded in
“JUST RIGHT” BOOKS
96%- 100% Accuracy
Students can read with
teacher support and
< 90% Accuracy
Students read texts that
they have chosen.
Books should be ―Good
Meet their need (to
inform, entertain, or
Match their interests
At an appropriate reading
Students are given time
to actually read.
Students are encouraged
to get comfortable.
Individual Instruction for Readers and Writers
Take place between the teacher and student
Differentiation at its Best!
RULES AND PROCEDURES ARE CLEARLY
RELEVANT TASKS ARE PREPARED AT EACH
The teacher writes in
front of the students
demonstrating a writing
strategy, skill or
convention of written
Teacher often shares
her thinking as she
goes through the writing
Teacher & students
collaborate to write text
Teacher works with a
group of students with
similar strengths &
During interactive writing, the
teacher and the students may
―share the pen.‖ The class may
share ideas and write a piece
together. Or, the students and
teacher may write back and forth
with one another, possibly in
journals, on charts or sticky notes.
Students are expected
to choose their own
Students go through
the writing process at
their own pace.
Published pieces are
assessed using a
Mini-lesson : Teacher explicitly teaches a skill in
phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reading, or writing
Practice: Students practice the skill independently or
with a partner
Sharing: Students share what was learned and how
it will help us in everyday reading and writing
COMPONENTS OF LANGUAGE/WORD STUDY
Turn and Talk
Notes From Small Group
On Demand Writing
Rubrics are often used to
evaluate students’ academic
achievement and growth.
90 MINUTE READING BLOCK EXAMPLE
Amount of Time
Types of Activities
Literacy Centers or
Read and response
8:40 – 9:00
9:00 – 10:00
Balanced Literacy Element
Morning Procedures Independent Writing – Journaling
Independent Reading Book Selection
Modeled Writing, Interactive Writing, Independent
Writing, Guided Writing, & Read Aloud
Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Literature
Circles, Work Stations, Independent Reading, Read
Aloud & Word Study
Spelling & Word Study
12:45 – 1:05
Self-Selected Reading & Reading Conferences
1:05 – 1:35
Special Area Class
1:20 – 1:50
1:50 – 2:50
2:50 – 3:20
Shared Reading, Read Aloud & Word Study
Reading Interventions & Enrichment
Shared Reading & Independent Writing
Dependent upon the lesson
TYPES OF GROUPS
Modeled reading and writing
Independent reading and
The teacher's role is:
to guide and model literacy behavior for children to emulate.
to meet the needs of all the children in the classroom which
include physical, emotional and intellectual growth.
to create an environment filled with meaningful, inviting and
authentic activities, employing developmentally appropriate
to engage students in experiences that make literacy events
meaningful and help the students make connections and
build on their prior knowledge.
to maintain an environment that places an emphasis on
meaningful dialogue, negotiated meaning, and understanding
facilitates authentic literacy experiences.
to create a classroom environment that supports emerging
readers and writers through
modeling, scaffolding, monitoring, and facilitating classroom
to encourage students to develop their own unique interest
to create an accepting and inviting atmosphere for learning.