Posts Tagged ‘balanced literacy’
Balanced Literacy involves both reading and writing. It allows students to learn skills and practice according to their strengths and needs in literacy.
With the focus so much on reading, including read alouds, guided reading, shared reading, independent reading, there are times that I think we neglect the writing piece of the balanced literacy idea.
What are the pieces of writing in Balanced Literacy?
- Modeled Writing
- Shared Writing
- Guided Writing
- Independent Writing
Let’s explore Shared Writing:
Shared (Interactive) Writing is a teaching process where the teacher and children collaborate to write a text together, using a “shared pen” technique that involves children in the writing. The teacher has most of the responsibility as she acts as the scribe. The children are invited to write the parts that they know while the teacher fills in the unknown. In a large or small group, the teacher uses chart paper or a white board, markers, and post-it tape.
The purpose of Shared Writing is to demonstrate how writing works by showing children that their ideas can be recorded on paper and that they can participate in that recording process (writing). In addition, Shared Writing provides opportunities for children to develop concepts about print (directional movement, return sweep, one to one matching, etc.), and to participate and behave like writers.
(from James Gentry’s website)
Need some ideas for how to do a Shared Writing Lesson?
In this document, Gentry shares a suggested teaching sequence for a Shared Writing lesson: http://bit.ly/11kSzWe
I wonder how the Writing Feature on Big Universe could be used to support Shared Writing …
I wonder how the Writing Prompts on the Big Universe Blog could be used to support Shared Writing ….
For many of us, this week is a chance to take a deep breath, look back at all that has happened these last 360-odd days, and also look forward to our hopes and dreams for the coming year.
Just as there is no denying the sight of Halloween decorations in August, there is no escaping all of the talk about New Year’s Resolutions.
And if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. So with an eye toward literacy and reading, here are my resolutions for 2013. I’ll give you a hint – I’m going old school.
Write More – Longhand
As much as I love the ability to type and edit as I write, I find myself struggling to just let ideas flow. It is so easy to hit the backspace or delete buttons if I change my mind about a word or phrase. I’m thinking I need to spend more time with scribbling and ink in the margins.
It has also taken me away from my journal. For more than 20 years I wrote nearly every day. Now its been two years since I’ve put pen to pepper to express my personal thoughts.
Read More Widely
This is a resolution that is like “eat healthier.” The more I do it, the more I love it and the more I stretch myself as a reader. On my Google+ profile you’ll see that my bragging right is “I read ONLY children’s and Young Adult books.” I don’t plan to change that any time soon. I do plan to push myself into genres I’ve only tried once or twice: wordless books for older readers and graphic novels.
Read More Consistently and Visibly
I love to read in bed in the evening. It’s a wonderfully relaxing way to end my day. Rare is the day that I don’t pick up a book, even if it is only one page before I conk out. What I don’t do well, though, is read a book during the day when my daughter can see me. She sees me reading the newspaper, but in her mind that is like school: reading for a purpose. The news isn’t reading for fun.
So for the coming year, I’m going to keep a book or two on the coffee table in the family room … just like I have on my nightstand. I’ll select books in genres she likes or that look like they have laugh-out-loud moments.
Maybe – just maybe – she’ll ask me what I’m reading or pick up a book, too. That would be something to celebrate in 2013!
Do you have reading resolutions for the coming year? We’d love to hear about them!
This is another great image to represent Balanced Literacy and how the individual pieces of it work so well together.
Look in each section and notice how reading, writing, vocabulary, and learning play such an important role.
I am sure that your Core standards may differ from the ones mentioned in this image, but the basics are the same since they are pieces students put together in the learning puzzle.
Think about the ways Big Universe Learning can be used in each of these areas as well ….
- Explicit Instruction
- Small Group
- Silent Reading
- Partner Reading
- Read Aloud
- Response Writing
- Discovering New Words
- Defining Words in Context
What are ways you can or do you things from Big Universe Learning in Balanced Literacy?
image from http://www.forestlake.k12.mn.us/teaching__learning/literacy/
Book talks are one of the most important tools in our literacy toolbox.
Whether its educator to child, parent to parent, or (most effectively) kid to kid, that enthusiastic description about a book and why you should read it is oh-so-effective in getting a child interested in reading. [Image Credit: Picasa Web Album]
When I read author Shannon Hale’s recent blog post Why Boys Don’t Read Girls (Sometimes) I started thinking about how we craft those pitches. She starts with this observation …
[Boys] are looking around at each other, trying to figure out what it means to be a boy—and often their conclusion is to be “not a girl.” Whatever a girl is, they must be the opposite. So a book written by a girl? With a girl on the cover? Not something a boy should be caught reading.
She continues by offering examples from her book signings: boys who read her books on the sly because they’re too embarrassed to acknowledge it publicly.
Ashamed to read a good book? Beyond heartbreaking.
Within the blogosphere you’ll find many re-posts and commentary about Hale’s original piece. I particularly liked Boy Books or Girl Books by author, librarian and YA reviewer Liz Burns, whose blog is part of the School Library Journal family of blogs. [Image Credit: Nicola on Flickr]
So how do we change the paradigm? Is there a way to acknowledge the perceptions and make the boy book v. girl book irrelevant to the goal of hooking kids on a book that is a just-right story for them?
For me it will mean …
1. More emphasis on the plot and less emphasis on the book as a prop so that the cover doesn’t become a visual deterrent.
2. Sharing more information about the author as a person: how they fit within a family, what experiences they bring to their writing, etc.
3. Beating a drum that a good book is a good book – regardless of the gender of the characters or the author.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think about the concept and/or if you’ve got ideas on ways to engage readers of all types.
Terry Doherty is a Stay-at-Home Mom, reading mentor, and a family literacy advocate. She is the founder and Executive Director of The Reading Tub(r), and is the force behind Share a Story – Shape a Future, an annual blog tour for literacy. You’ll find reviews by families for families on The Reading Tub website; and her ideas for reading on Family Bookshelf, her blog.
Reading has been on the top of my priorities recently; more so than in the past. I’ve been weeding through my classroom library, talking more about books to my students, encouraging good reading habits at home, providing time for them to read in class and on Big Universe and overall, making sure that reading is at the forefront of my classroom.
Just a couple of days ago, there was a #4thchat Twitter chat centered around struggling readers. During that time, Mike McQueen of www.readingontherun.com tweeted to me stating, “Many Struggling Readers prefer nonfiction but are smothered in fiction daily.” That got me thinking about my own students. Do I provide enough balance in my classroom between fiction and non-fiction? Do I provide a variety of genres and texts for my students to read?
I know of one of my students whose parents came to me concerned that he was only reading non-fiction texts. My reply was, “If he is reading on his own and enjoying it, let him. We will be introducing him to a variety of texts in the classroom as well.”
Students come to us with their own interests and their own talents. Our job is to constantly challenge them with what they know and love and push them to experience new things. This is very true with reading. Whether we are using traditional texts: books, magazines, articles, storybooks, or online resources: online articles, searched information, the ebooks on Big Universe or a mixture of the two, our goal should be to get students interested in and reading a variety of texts.
How do you make sure your students are reading a variety of texts?
Do you know the benefits of reading TO children?
Read Alouds can ...
- help to internalize sentence structure and ”book language” concepts,
- provide motivation to learn to read,
- develop a sense of story structure,
- encourage vocabulary concepts,
- build prediction skills, and
- provide a proficient reader model
How can you use material from Big Universe Learning for Read Alouds?
Do you know the benefits of reading WITH children?
- develop comprehension skills
- reinforce language and rhyming
- focus on plot and story elements
- develop and review high frequency words as well as known phonics
- provide teacher models for language use
- develop print concepts
- encourage early reading strategies
- promote the use of good reader strategies
- support comprehension
How can you use material from Big Universe Learning for Shared Reading?
Do you know the benefits of reading BY children?
Guided Reading and Independent Reading can ….
- reinforce reading strategies in context of story
- promote children’s effective use of cueing sources, prediction, and monitoring
- reinforce the development of print concepts and early reading strategies
- encourage student self-correction
- provide practice in applying reading strategies
- build self-confidence, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies
How can you use material from Big Universe Learning for Guided Reading and Independent Reading?
Balanced Literacy involves reading TO children, WITH children, and BY children!
Balanced Literacy involves students writing about what they are reading. Here are a few ideas for writing projects to go along with reading:
- I challenge you to write an invitation to an event for a character in a book you have read (there are lots of great book here on Big Universe Learning to choose from). The event may be anything you choose, but it should have something to do with the character and the plot of the story. Remember to include the necessary information: type of event, name of person for whom the event is being held, time, date, place, and an RSVP line with a name and an imaginary phone number for guests to respond.
- Think about a story or novel you have read that features a memorable character. Now write a letter of recommendation for that character, suggesting him or her for a particular job that you think is suitable. Remember to use proper business letter format.
- Think about a book you enjoyed reading. Write a letter from one character to another. Then write a reply from the second character to the first.
Storytelling is one of those art forms that naturally connects to all aspects of literacy. Obvious, right? But I wonder how much it is really used in the classroom. I often feel like I need to intentionally place it into my plans to allow my students to do it and yet, if I just gave my students a push in the right direction, they could practice storytelling all the time and become better readers and writers.
How can storytelling help students’ reading and writing? For struggling readers, storytelling is a great alternative to showing what they can do. Without the obstacles of letters, words and conventions, they are able to construct a story or retell a story showing comprehension and knowledge of story structure. The same is true for every level of reader/writer. Storytelling naturally differentiates for all levels. As students add more events, details and descriptions to their stories, they become more skilled at this art form.
With some additional instruction on what makes a good story: character, setting, a problem, sequence of events and a solution at the end, as well as how it pertains to oral storytelling, students will be well on their way. Stories come alive when you take the time to really describe certain things and events in your story too. The first few times a student tells a story it is ok to ask them questions to get them to add more and more details to the story. “What did he look like?” “What was behind the house?” These types of questions help students to visualize the story and tell it more effectively.
When students tell stories, they are automatically reinforcing the concepts of character, setting, plot and sequence. And it you give them opportunities to tell their story to different people or record it and listen, then those story elements are being that much more reinforced. Gaining a new level of knowledge of these elements can help them as readers. They will be better able to recognize them in the books they read in print and online.
Storytelling can also act as a sort of plan for a story. Once students have told a story, especially if they have told it more than once, they are better able to write it down on paper or through their Big Universe account and add meaningful illustrations and pictures to accompany their work.
Kids do love telling stories, so why not use that to our advantage as teachers of literacy? I’m looking forward to using storytelling more and more this coming school year.
Picture from http://www.kstoolkit.org/Storytelling
The ReadWriteThink website is a great place for teachers to find resources and ideas. ReadWriteThink is partners with the International Reading Association (IRA), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and Thinkfinity. ReadWriteThink offers Classroom Resources, Professional Development, as well as Parent and Afterschool Resources. There are a number of Student Interactives available to support learning.
I continued looking at that page and was pleased to find lessons for various grade levels that connect reading and writing, which could easily be done using the features of Big Universe Learning. Balanced Literacy does involve connecting reading and writing along with various forms of literacy.
Here are a few of the lessons that caught my attention:
image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/35240403@N02/3857853340/
Balanced Literacy is a way to instruct students incorporating a variety of reading and writing approaches since students must use multiple strategies to become proficient readers. In a Balanced Literacy Program, the teacher reads TO children (read aloud), reads WITH children (shared reading), and supports reading BY children (guided reading). The reading WITH children part, known as Shared Reading, is an important piece of Balanced Literacy.
According to EduPlace.com:
The shared reading model was developed by Holdaway (1979). It builds from the research that indicates that storybook reading is a critically important factor in young children’s reading development (Wells, 1986). The storybook reading done by parents in a home setting is particularly effective (Strickland & Taylor, 1989). However, in school, in most cases, a teacher reads to a group of children rather than to a single child. The shared reading model allows a group of children to experience many of the benefits that are part of storybook reading done for one or two children at home (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982; Schickendanz, 1978).
The shared reading model often uses oversized books (referred to as big books) with enlarged print and illustrations. As the teacher reads the book aloud, all of the children who are being read to can see and appreciate the print and illustrations.
Can books from Big Universe Learning be used for Shared Reading in the classroom?
I have seen Big Universe books displayed on interactive white boards (SMARTboards and ActivBoards). I have seen Big Universe books projected on the wall or overhead screen. I have even seen Big Universe Books displayed on large flat screens/monitors. When viewing books in those ways, they are BIG books with oversized text and illustrations. Teacher can use annotation tools to circle, underline, star important text and to point out details in the illustrations to assist with comprehension of the story.
EduPlace.com also shares the benefits of 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 word-recognition 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.
Those sound like good ways to use books from Big Universe to support student learning in your classroom!
image from BigUniverse Learning