WES Balanced Literacy Bootcamp


What is Balanced Literacy?

Balanced Literacy incorporates a variety of reading approaches realizing students need to use multiple strategies to become proficient readers. Balanced literacy combines phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, vocabulary, and reading comprehension strategies. It provides and cultivates the skills of reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening for all students.

A Balanced Literacy Program includes:

· Modeled Reading (Reading Aloud)

· Shared Reading

· Guided Reading

· Independent Reading

Balanced Literacy Components

Read Aloud

Interactive, Modeled Read Aloud teachers verbally interact with students before, during and after reading to help them understand and make a variety of connections with the read aloud selection. The selection can be a nonfiction or fiction narrative, a poem or picture book. During an interactive read aloud the teacher engages in a series of activities, including: previewing the book; asking students to make predictions and connections to prior knowledge; stopping at purposeful moments to emphasize story elements, ask guiding questions or focus questions; and using oral or written responses to bring closure to the selection.

Read Aloud Power Point EPSD

Interactive Read Aloud

Shared Reading

Shared Reading is a link in helping students become independent readers. It allows the teacher to model and support students using prediction and confirming skills. It allows less confident students the chance to share stories/articles/poetry in a non­threatening situation. It focuses on the meaning, fun, enjoyment, characters and sequence of a story and allows them to relate it back to their own experiences. It promotes discussion, problem­ solving and critical thinking by students.

Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience. An integral component of Shared Reading is an enlarged text that all children can see. Children join in the reading of a big book or other enlarged text such as songs, poems, charts, and lists created by the teacher or developed with the class through Shared and Interactive Writing. During the reading the teacher involves the children in reading together by pointing to or sliding below each word in the text. The teacher deliberately draws attention to the print and models early reading behaviors such as moving from left to right and word-­by­-word matching. Shared reading models the reading process and strategies used by readers.

In the shared reading model there are multiple readings of the books over several days. Throughout, children are actively involved in the reading.

During the initial reading, the teacher:

· Introduces the book (shares theme, examines title, cover, illustrations, and makes predictions)

· Relates prior experience to text

· Concentrates on enjoying the text as a whole

· Encourages students to use background knowledge to make predictions

· Encourages spontaneous participation in the reading of the story

· Discusses personal responses to the book

Texts are usually read multiple times over a period of days or weeks. The first reading emphasizes reading for enjoyment. Subsequent readings aim to increase participation, teach about book characteristics and print conventions, teach reading strategies, help develop a sight vocabulary of high frequency words, and teach phonics.

During Shared Reading:

· Rich, authentic, interesting literature can be used, even in the earliest phases of a reading program, with children whose word­ identification skills would not otherwise allow them access to this quality literature.

· Each reading of a selection provides opportunities for the teacher to model reading for the children.

· Opportunities for concept and language expansion exist that would not be possible if instruction relied only on selections that students could read independently.

· Awareness of the functions of print, familiarity with language patterns, and word­recognition skills grow as children interact several times with the same selection.

· Individual needs of students can be more adequately met. Accelerated readers are challenged by the interesting, natural language of selections. Because of the support offered by the teacher, students who are more slowly acquiring reading skills experience success.

Shared Reading

Guided Reading

Guided reading is an instructional reading strategy during which a teacher works with small groups of children who have similar reading processes and needs. The teacher selects and introduces new books carefully chosen to match the instructional levels of students and supports whole text reading. Readers are carefully prepared when being introduced to a new text and various teaching points are made during and after reading. Guided reading fosters comprehension skills and strategies, develops background knowledge and oral language skills, and provides as much instructional ­level reading as possible.

During guided reading, students are given exposure to a wide variety of texts and are challenged to select from a growing repertoire of strategies that allow them to tackle new texts more independently. Ongoing observation and assessment help to inform instruction and grouping of students is flexible and may be changed often.

Guided Reading Power Point EPSD

Lesson in K

Lesson in Grade 2

Guided Reading

Independent Reading During D5

Independent Reading is a time when students self-­select and independently read appropriate books. Students can use book boxes to store books daily. They should have a few different books to read in their box. Independent Reading provides an opportunity to apply strategies that are introduced and taught during teacher read aloud, shared reading, and guided reading. When materials are appropriate and students can read independently, they become confident, motivated and enthusiastic about their ability to read.

Children make great contributions to their own learning when they are given some control and ownership of the reading process. The self-­selection process of Independent Reading places the responsibility for choosing books in the hands of the student. This teaches them that they have the ability to choose their own reading materials and that reading is a valuable and important activity.

While students are free to choose what they like, they must be encouraged to select a variety of literature and to select materials at their independent reading level. Independent means 95% to 100% accuracy as defined by running records. These materials should be able to be read without teacher support. It is at the independent level that comprehension, vocabulary extension, and fluency are improved. Running Records can be given during Guided Reading or while conferring.


Conferring During D5

Conferencing occurs during the independent reading and writing time. Conferencing can take different forms, but it is primarily the opportunity for students to receive or provide specific feedback about their work. Students often seek out their partners or another student to conference with for opinions or suggestions. Teachers actively confer with either individual students or small groups during this time also. Teachers can also engage in small-group instructional groups to work with students that require assistance in a specific area.

Comprehension- Taught During D5/Guided Reading

Reading comprehension is understanding a text that is read, or the process of "constructing meaning" from a text. Comprehension is a "construction process" because it involves all of the elements of the reading process working together as a text is read to create a representation of the text in the reader's mind. It can be defined as the “intentional thinking during which meaning is constructed through interactions between text and reader” (Harris and Hodges 1995, 207).

Reading comprehension skills are explicitly taught in our literacy instructional blocks.

Specific skills include:

· Asking questions

· Author’s Purpose

· Creating images

· Decoding

· Determining importance

· Differentiating between Fact and Opinion

· Drawing Conclusions

· Expressive Language

· Fluency

· Generalizing Questions

· Inference

· Main Idea

· Making connections

· Monitoring understanding

· Point of View

· Reading with Fluency

· Summarizing

· Synthesis

· Theme

· Using Compare and Contrast

· Using Context Clues

· Using fix­-up strategies

· Using Prediction

· Visualization

Studentsreading development is monitored in grades kindergarten through five through the use of numerous assessments such as regular benchmarks, retelling, running records, and guided reading levels and progress. The implementation of leveling and monitoring student reading fluency and comprehension is being developed in the middle school years as student data allows and teacher training is designed.

Why Small Group Reading Instruction?

Small Group Instruction (Strategy Groups)

Teachers are to use Strategy Groups & Conferences to differentiate instruction for ALL students during the Workshop. Research shows that beginning readers benefit most from being taught explicit skills during intensive small-group instruction. The small-group, differentiated reading model enables teachers to focus on specific skills needed by varied groups of children.

Strategy Groups

•Students can be reading at a different level and different text

•Targeted strategy/goal oriented- one teaching point

•Similar structure to a mini-lesson

•Easier to have flexible grouping (students might be in two or more groups)

•5-10 minutes

•Scheduling example

Example Lesson 4th-5th Grade

Reading Strategies Study Guide Resource- What should I teach?

Book Clubs/Literature Circles/Student-Led Discussions

Book Club in 3rd Grade
Strategy Groups

Close Reading

Close Reading is a central focus of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It requires students to get truly involved with the text they are reading. The purpose is to teach them to notice features and language used by the author. Students will be required to think thoroughly and methodically about the details in a text.

Close reading includes:

o Using short passages and excerpts

o Diving right into the text with limited pre-reading activities

o Focusing on the text itself

o Rereading deliberately

o Reading with a pencil

o Noticing things that are confusing

o Discussing the text with others

o Think-Pair Share or Turn and Talk frequently

o Small groups and whole class

o Responding to text-dependent questions

Close Reading Power Point EPSD

Close Reading- Sign Posts