In a balanced literacy program, students learn to do more that simply read and understand words. They learn to find meaning in text, use it to build knowledge, and thendo something with that knowledge.
Word study is taught in a holistic manner using the same literature as used in read alouds, shared reading, and guided reading. The word study component (encompassing phonics, vocabulary, spelling, and handwriting) is not an entirely separate component. It is taught in conjunction with the reading component and then practiced and reinforced during the writing component.
(A text is appropriately challenging if a student can read 90% of the words accurately.)
Optimally, a teacher allows for 30 minutes of in-school reading eachday. This can take place across the curriculum. It’s not confined to reading class only.
Teachers need to provide materials, perhaps in a writing corner or at a writing table, that encourage students to publish written work. Examples include markers, crayons, paper, stapler, tape, pens, pencils, construction paper, erasers, etc.
Tuesday through Thursday I will be spending time working in small, guided reading and/or writing groups. During this time, students will rotate through two literacy stations working in cooperative groups or with partners. Some examples of our literacy centers include: 1) Research Mexican Folk Art on the computer. Then use the supplies provided to create one of your own. 2) Choose one of the trickster tales in the reading center to read with a partner. Then write a paragraph about the trick and another about the resolution of the problem. 3) Work together to brainstorm a list of homonyms. Then, use pairs in the same sentence. If there is time, each student can choose his/her favorite to illustrate.
From 12:30 until 1:00 each day, our instructional assistant spends time with individuals or small groups to practice any skill on which students are in need of extra help. Some days she works with groups on math facts, other days she will take one student to really focus on something else or assist him/her in completing a paper or project. You may wonder what the rest of the class is doing during this time. They are doing calendar activities, solving the problem of the day, or taking their keyboarding class. 2:00-2:40 is for reading remediation. While those students identified receive intense help, the rest of the class enjoys in-depth book studies.
Here is an example of a rubric I often use to grade writing samples. I enjoy using rubrics because I can give it to the students ahead of time and they know exactly what I’m expecting on an assignment. Homework is usually worth two points per assignment. If a student completes the assignment with approximately 80% accuracy, then he/she earns two points. The only way to earn a zero is to show no attempt to complete the homework assignment or fail to turn it in. Two points may not seem like a lot, but it does add up over the course of nine weeks.
Acuity is an online assessment designed to guide classroom instruction.STAR Reading is used to test fluency and basic comprehension. This helps teachers assess reading levels and assign appropriately challenging book levels.At the end of each unit of study, students will be given a story test. This test consists of eight multiple choice questions about the story or the vocabulary. The last two questions ask for literary analysis and response. For instance, a question might ask, “What is the genre of the story? Use details from the story to support your answer.
Anecdotal records will usually come from informal observation notes taken during guided reading or independent reading. Achieve 3000 provides “web-based, individualized learning…scientifically proven to accelerate reading comprehension, vocabulary, [and] writing” (Achieve 3000). Plus, it allows teachers to use performance data to guide instruction.
Each week, students are expected to fill out a simple reading log to show what they have read for a minimum of 120 minutes. A parent signature is required when it is turned in each Friday. ANY reading a students does can count toward the reading log minutes. For example, reading the cereal box counts and so do homework reading assignments. In order to motivate students to complete the reading log each week, we offer some kind of reward party at the end of each nine weeks to each student having turned in at least eight of the nine reading logs. We usually have a bowling party, a beach party, a movie and popcorn party, and the last one is the best. It’s a swimming party!Each Tuesday, your fifth grader will bring home his/her reading book and the “Secret Question.” After reading the main selection for the week, the student will hand the stapled “Secret Question” and a pen or pencil to their responsible adult. The adult should ask the child the question, place a check mark in the appropriate box, then sign the slip which is to be returned the next day. Assignment notebooks are filled-in and sent home each day. This is where the students write their nightly homework assignments. I will initial these each afternoon. It would be beneficial if an adult in the home would initial each evening too, after checking to be sure assignments are complete. A weekly newsletter called “DeArmitt’s Digest” will come home each Friday, along with other important information.Assignments and spelling words can also be found on our classroom webpage. Parents: We would love to have your help in the classroom. It would be ideal to have an adult to guide, motivate, and answer questions during our literacy center time, while I am working with guided reading or writing groups. Plus, the more adults value education, the more their children will! Develop a homework routine, i.e. a time and place for homework to be completed every evening, Monday through Thursday.
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My Philosophy of Reading<br />Reading means finding meaning in literature and using it to develop knowledge. A child’s ability to read affects every aspect of his/her learning, which is why the ability to use text to gain knowledge is integral. <br />In order to motivate students to read, we must provide them with quality literature that is appropriately challenging and then offer the support they need to successfully apply reading skills and strategies. <br />Through cognitive modeling, making connections to deepen understanding, and scaffolding reading experiences, a teacher is able to create independently successful readers.<br />
Balanced Literacy<br />by Jennifer DeArmitt<br />…a balance of whole language and phonics instruction, using authentic texts and providing a variety of real life reading and writing experiences that scaffold throughout the year.<br />
Why a Balanced Literacy? <br />“Reading and writing are closely related processes and should not be artificially isolated for instruction.”<br /> (Burts, Charlesworth, & Hart, 1997, p. 226)<br />A balanced literacy meets the demands of present-day literacy which is defined by Irwin Kirsch and Ann Jungeblut as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge.”<br /> (Graves, Juel, & Graves, 2007, p. 16) <br />“…contemporary education must go beyond simply presenting students with information and must ensure that students retain important information, understand topics deeply, and actively use the knowledge they gain.” <br />(Graves, Juel, & Graves, 2007, p. 16) <br />“We particularly need to improve all children’s higher-order thinking skills. We need to guide as many students as we possibly can to a level of literacy that enables them to read challenging material, to analyze it closely, to learn from it, to reason from it, and to problem solve.” (Graves, Juel, & Graves, 2007, p. 17) <br />
Teacher reads aloud to students, asking questions before, during and after to help students make connections and build interest in the topic and reading as a whole.<br />Read Aloud<br />Provides adult model of fluent reading. <br />Models use of reading strategies.<br />Develops vocabulary. <br />Encourages prediction.<br />Builds interest in reading. <br />
Using a variety of prose, such as non- fiction, fiction, rhymes, songs, and poetry, the teacher and students share quality text through spontaneous interactions.<br />Shared Reading<br /><ul><li>Promotes reading strategies.
Identifies elements of text.</li></li></ul><li>Teacher works with small, flexible, groups of students using appropriately leveled texts to observe and help individuals hone specific skills or strategies.<br />Guided <br />Reading<br /><ul><li>Clarifies vocabulary.
Allows for observation of individual reading skills.
Encourages use of strategies to unlock meaning.
Teacher models writing by thinking aloud while doing so.<br />Develops writing strategies.<br />Identifies conventions of language.<br />Builds language skills.<br />Provides models for a variety of writing styles.<br />Supports clear and concise communication skills.<br />http://instech.tusd.k12.az.us/balancedlit/handbook/BLHS/blcomphs.htm<br />
Teacher and students work together to compose written work that communicates clear and concise ideas while implementing writing strategies, proper grammar, and mechanics.<br />Provides opportunities to plan and construct texts. <br />Develops writing skills for a variety of purposes.<br />Increases phonics and spelling knowledge. <br />Applies what has been learned.<br />Maya Angelou Elementary<br />
Guided <br />Writing<br />“In guided writing, students create their own writing, with the teacher as guide. Activities associated with guided writing take place in small homogeneous groups of students. Teachers serve as mentors as students go through the process” (Paulson, 2008).<br />Provides individual/small group instruction. <br />Prompts students to engage in certain writing strategies.<br />Allows for observation of individual writing skills.<br />Encourages use of strategies to communicate concise, clear ideas. <br />Increases progress monitoring in strategy use, phonics, grammar, and mechanics of writing.<br />
Cooperative Writing<br />Students writing together and sharing ideas to accomplish a common goal. <br />Encourages cooperation.<br />Develops social skills.<br />Fosters active learning. <br />Increases self-esteem.<br />Improves attitudes toward school.<br />Fosters conflict resolution.<br />Builds critical thinking skills.<br />Graves, Graves, & Juel, 2007.<br />
Independent Writing<br />Independent writing time “provide[s] students with the consistent opportunity to apply and practice the skills already introduced and to cultivate their love of and comfort with writing on their own level” (Paulson, 2008).<br />Increases understanding of multiple uses of writing. <br />Develops writing strategies.<br />Builds confidence as a writer. <br />Strengthens text sequence.<br />Supports reading development. http://www.freewebs.com/maelementary/balancedliteracy.htm<br />http://instech.tusd.k12.az.us/balancedlit/handbook/BLHS/blcomphs.htm<br />
A Day in our Balanced Literacy Classroom<br />9:20-9:35<br />
Individual needs<br />12:30-1:00 <br />2:00-2:40 <br />This time each day is devoted to remediating students in need of extra practice on a specific skill. <br />Students in need of reading remediation receive intense, small group instruction to build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills while practicing a variety of reading strategies.<br />
Grading<br />I want to see all of my students succeed. Therefore, before I take a grade on an assignment, I do my best to ensure their success through careful, concise instruction, modeling, and practice.<br />Grades will come from a variety of assessments including story tests, samples of student work, rubric performance, and homework effort. http://www.uen.org/Rubric/rubric.cgi?rubric_id=1082<br />
Assessments<br />Formal Assessments<br />Acuity Scores<br />ISTEP+ Scores<br />STAR Reading Scores<br />Story tests, including literary analysis and response<br />
Families can help!<br />Weekly Reading Log<br />Secret Question<br />Assignment Notebooks<br />Weekly Newsletter<br />Classroom Webpage http://www.shelbycs.org/coulston/5th%20Grade/DeArmitt/index.htm<br />Volunteers Appreciated!<br />Homework Routine <br />http://aaamath.com/is a helpful website for students and parents needing extra help on mathematical skills! <br />Secret Question<br />Hurricanes<br />How has technology had an impact on our safety in concern to hurricanes? Use examples from the story to support your answer.<br />Answer: Hurricane and tropical radars and satellites have been created to alert us when a hurricane has begun to develop. It is possible for us to know days in advance that we should make preparations and/or evacuate.<br />____ My child knew this answer right away.<br />____My child had to go back and read again to find the answer.<br />Parent Signature___________________ Student Signature___________________ <br />
Literacy at home<br />In addition to supporting school and learning at home, there are numerous ways to turn your home into a “literacy-rich environment.”<br /> Be sure to check out the Family Literacy Brochure you received on your way in.<br />Sites for Parents: http://www.internet4classrooms.com/parents.htm<br />www.rif.org/parents/literacyrich/default.mspx<br />
Thank you <br />for coming! <br />I look forward to working with you and <br />your fifth-grader!<br />
bibliography<br /> Achieve 3000. Retrieved April 20, 2010 from: http://www.achieve3000.com<br /> Hart, C., Burts, D., & Charlesworth, R. (1997). Integrated Curriculum and Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Birth to Age Eight. State University of New York Press, Albany, United States<br /> Graves, B., Graves, M., & Juel, C. (2007). Fourth Edition Teaching Reading in the 21st Century. Pearson Education, Inc., United States <br /> Maya Angelou Elementary: Balanced Literacy Handbook. Retrieved March 7, 2010 from: http://www.freewebs.com/maelementary/balancedliteracy.htm<br /> Paulson, Marcy. (2008). What is Balanced Literacy Instruction? Best Teaching Practices & Classroom Techniques in Literacy Programs. Suite 101. Retrieved from http://k12subjectguides.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_balanced_literacy<br /> TUSD Balanced/Interactive Literacy. TUSD Balanced Literacy Booklets. Retrieved March 2010 from: http://instech.tusd.k12.az.us/balancedlit/handbook/main.htm<br />