Components of Balanced Literacy

Word Study: Students master the recognition, spelling, and meaning of words through a hands-on, inquiry based approach. They examine words to reveal consistencies within our written language system. It incorporates phonics, vocabulary and spelling instruction.

Shared Writing: Teacher and students work together to compose various forms of writing. Students provide the ideas and the teacher supports the process as a scribe. The teacher provides full support, modeling and demonstrating the process of writing.

Interactive Writing: The teacher and class compose together to create a variety of written text using a “shared pen” technique. The group agrees on what to write through discussion and negotiation. Together the teacher and students navigate through the writing process.

Guided Writing: Teacher works with small groups of children who have similar writing needs. The teacher selects and introduces new techniques and strategies carefully chosen to match the instructional levels of students. On going observation and assessment help to inform instruction and grouping of students is flexible and may be changed often.

Writing Conferences: Teacher meets with an individual student, engaging in a dialogue about the student’s writing. In the conference the teacher may listen to the students read the writing aloud, reinforce the writer’s strengths, provide explicit instruction regarding some aspect of writing, and set writing goals. Conferences allow the teacher to identify instructional needs to be addressed and evaluate a student’s progress in writing.

Independent Writing: Students write independently a variety of genres. Writing topics are either directed by the teacher or often self-selected. During this time, students practice writing strategies and techniques that were explicitly taught during shared writing, interactive writing and guided writing.

Sharing/Reflection: Teacher and students come back together at the end of the reading and writing workshop to share their new thinking about the reading and writing process, reflect upon their own reading and writing and to explain how they have used the information learned from the read aloud, shared reading/writing, interactive writing, conferences and guided reading/writing.