We teach Language Arts with the Balanced Literacy approach. A balanced literacy program is organized around observations of the ways children learn to read and write. Children learn to read and write by seeing others read and write, by having others read aloud and write to them, by reading and writing with others, and by reading and writing by themselves and to others. A Balanced Literacy Classroom should include the following key components as a regular part of the daily classroom experience:
Overview of the Balanced Literacy Approach
Reading to Children
Reading with Children
Reading by Children
The teacher reads aloud to the whole class or small groups. Texts rich in meaning or language and class favorites are read again and again, and are used as a base for other activities.
The teacher introduces and reads an enlarged text or a small text of which each child has a copy. On refrains and multiple readings, children join in, reading in unison as teacher guides with a pointer.
The teacher works with a small group of children who have similar reading processes. The teacher selects and introduces new books and supports children reading the whole text to themselves, making teaching points during and after the reading.
Children read on their own or with partners from a wide range of materials. Some reading is from a special collection at their reading level.
Writing to Children
Writing with Children
Writing by Children
Teacher and children work together to compose messages and stories with the teacher supporting the process as the scribe.
As in shared writing, teacher and children compose messages and stories using a ‘shared pen’ technique that involves children in the writing.
Guided Writing or Writing Workshop
Children engage in writing a variety of texts. Teacher guides the process and provides instruction through minilessons and conferences.
Children write their own pieces, including (in addition to stories and information pieces) retellings, labeling, speech balloons, lists, etc.
Integrated throughout the Balance Literacy Model are:
Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Working with Words, Word Walls, High Frequency Word Recognition, Literacy Centers