Instructional Model

Balanced Literacy

Balanced Literacy is guided, shared, and independent learning (I do, we do, you do) by students and teachers in a resource-rich environment. This instructional approach focuses on connections between reading, writing, word study, and active communication. This occurs in all content areas with ongoing assessment to meet the needs of all learners. Balanced Literacy results in students who are able to communicate in a modern global society using critical thinking skills.

Why Balanced Literacy?

  • Differentiated Instruction to meet the needs of every learner
  • Research-based Best Practice
  • Creates connections across subject areas
  • Students become independent life-long learners and thinkers

    Balanced Literacy Provides Students With:

  • Explicit demonstrations of the thinking that takes place while reading and writing.
  • Guided practice at students’ instructional levels, where teachers serve as “coaches” as students think through texts while reading and writing.
  • Vast amounts of time for students to practice reading books of their choice at their independent reading levels.
  • Vast amounts of time for students to explore their thoughts and compose pieces of writing.

    Why does this look different from how I was taught literacy (rationale for the change)?
    Over the course of the last twenty years, we have learned a great deal about the teaching of reading, writing, and word study. An analysis of that research reflects the importance of students spending vast amounts of time every day reading and working with words at their instructional levels. Rationale for this shift in teaching stems from the fact that students must actually spend time working with texts they can read in order to get better at reading.

    What You Will See in the Classroom:

  • Explicit instruction daily where teachers model the high-level thinking that takes place while reading and writing texts.
  • Daily guided practice where teachers gradually release the responsibility of learning to students—reteaching, coaching, and encouraging students as they apply the strategies and skills previously taught. This may be done working in small groups with a teacher or working one-on-one with a teacher.
  • Time every day for students to work at their independent levels to practice and apply the strategies and skills previously taught.
  • On-going assessment that allows teachers to plan instruction based on students’ needs as readers and writers.
  • Student choice and voice about what they read and write.

    What You Will See at Home:

  • Spelling lists geared towards your child’s understanding of letters, sounds, and word meanings.
  • Reading at home that reflects your child’s interests and abilities.
  • Writing that fosters the generation of ideas and encourages students to look for topics in their everyday experiences.
  • Practice with purpose.