Balanced Literacy Program

Reflection #1 - Reading Part 2 - Justin Paterson - July 2013

Classroom Start-Up : “Stand Up If You...”

In the first week of the Reading Course we did a series of start-up and 'Get To Know You' type activities. One activity that I could easily incorporate into my own start-up program was a game called “Stand up if you…” In this game the teacher might state, "Stand up if..." you live in Toronto, if you have taken a reading course before, or if you went to watch fireworks last night. The students for whom the statement is true would then stand up. This is a great activity because it requires little preparation, and it gives students a sense of a how they may be similar or different from their peers. Within my own classroom these questions would need to be adapted to:


“Stand Up If You…” (Grade 7 Classroom)


  • · Were in Grade 6 last year
  • · Were a student at CH Best last year
  • · Take the TTC to school
  • · Walk to school
  • · Get dropped off by car
  • · Went to the CNE in the summer
  • · Went camping in summer
  • · Went to Canada’s Wonderland
  • · Travelled outside Canada
  • · Travelled outside North America
  • · Have ever had to move homes


When brainstorming for questions I would try to keep the questions light. I would avoid questions about religion, residency, parent marital status etc... The questions could be used as conversation starters for the students to use with each other during break. They help everyone feel comfortable and ready to learn.


Balanced Literacy Program: Six Aspects

I really enjoyed the “Dot-Mocracy” activity we used in class. Each student placed a dot on one of the six different aspects of a “Balanced Literacy Program.” The dots on each category indicated the reading aspects that most students were comfortable or uncomfortable with.


I liked this activity because it is motivating to know how the class generally feels about a particular idea. It was also helpful because it influenced the topic I chose for my independent study in the course. I chose Reader's Theatre. It didn't receive much attention in the Dot-Mocracy and largely goes overlooked in my current literacy program. I thought it would be nice to give myself and the class some insight in this area.


The 'Six Aspects of a Balanced Literacy Program' are summarized below:


1) Read-Alouds – Teacher selects various students to read certain paragraphs to the class and then briefy summarize for meaning.


2) Shared Reading - Students have a copy of the passage and the teacher has a copy on the Smartboard. All or some students cane read the passage together. The Teacher Analyzes certain sections or words and outlines reading strategies to be used e.g. Re-read, infer meaning.


3) Guided Reading – Teacher works with a selection of students at the same reading level. Students read the passages and prompts students to infer meaning, make connections, and to utilize appropriate reading strategies.


4) Independent Reading – Students apply reading strategies independently. Teacher is to assist students in choosing appropriate texts and establishing a consistent reading routine.


5) Literature Circles – Students work in groups to read and analyze the same text. Each student is given a role to complete each week that analyzes the section of text that they were supposed to read for the week. Example roles include: Discussion Leader, Word Wizard, Passage Picker, and Question Generator.


6) Readers Theatre – Students to work in groups to practice and prepare for presentation of script. Emphasis dedicated to teaching and demonstrates reading fluency.



Four Major Reading Roles

I don’t always understand how I am able to construct a meaning from what I read but the Four Major Reading Roles helped me to understand this more. After reading about them I think that students should be conscious of these roles when they are reading. It would be helpful to post these roles at the guided reading table and could be referred to by the teacher during guided reading sessions. Another use, is too refer to these roles when explaining to parents why their child earned a specific grade level in Reading.


Meaning Maker – uses prior experience to construct meaning

Text User – understands that purpose dictates the tone, formality, and sequence.

Code User – uses features and structures to break the code of a text

Text Analyzer – understands that texts communicate view pint and may have bias