ESL Toolbelt

April Newsletter

Balanced Literacy-Reader's Workshop

As we have discussed before, Balanced Literacy is the District's approach for a comprehensive and differentiated approach to Reading and Writing instruction for our students. There are two parts to Balanced Literacy: Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop.

Check out the brace map below to see the parts of Reader's Workshop:

Shared Reading

Last month we learned about guided reading and literacy workstations. This month, let's look at shared reading and interactive reading (and the difference between the two).

Shared reading is a whole group activity using enlarged text (big book or text enlarged by the document camera). Teachers use shared reading to teach fluency, vocabulary, conventions of print (including grammar and punctuation), and types of language (sensory, descriptive, figurative, rhyming).


Children of all ages (yes...even 5th graders!!!) enjoy listening to stories read aloud by their teacher. Pick a novel and read a chapter to your class every day (5 minutes). Read a poem and allow students to make inferences. Read a short story that you liked to listen to as a child. Read an article of a newspaper that you found really interesting from the weekend and discuss what they learned. The possibilities are endless and your students will gain so much!


Things to remember while you are reading text aloud:


1) Preview the text to make sure it is worth reading to your class.

2) Engage your students in the reading. Don't just read the story and move on. Ask probing questions, have students make connections, predictions, and inferences.

3) Talk about story elements.

4) After reading, end with an oral or written response.


Although reading aloud sounds easy, there are many components that make it truly meaningful. It is an important component that you should include in your reading block during the day.


Watch the video below for a 5 day shared reading lesson plan idea (and yes...this can even be adapted for 4th and 5th grade students. You just have to be intentional about the text you choose).
Key Links Shared Reading

Interactive Read Aloud

An interactive read aloud is all about modeling how good readers read, modeling comprehension strategies, and allowing your students to practice what they have learned. The Comprehension Toolkit fits perfectly here! As you read, pause in places where you can model how to think and how to work through the text. Show your students how to leave thinking tracks with post-it notes, how to identify the difference between things they have learned and things they find interesting, questions they may have, and connections they have made to the story.

Your whole group lesson should be about 20 minutes. Use non-fiction text to incorporate Social Studies. You will create multiple anchor charts (strategies, text features, author's purpose, and more) that can be displayed and/or place in a class book for future reference.

The last 20-25 minutes should be used for small group/partner/individual practice. Your students can practice the strategy that you just taught through discussion or a written response. Below you will see an example of thinking tracks.

Technology Tidbits

Incorporate technology by having students track their thinking with one of the sticky notes apps. Students can also use Educreations on an iPad to take a picture of the text and record their thinking on the actual picture.