What is Balanced Literacy?
Balanced literacy is a framework for instruction that is designed to help all students learn to read and write through a balance of literacy components within a variety of whole group, small group, and individual learning opportunities. Sometimes the instruction will be very intensive and focused on skills, while at other times the instruction will be quick with more of a focus on enjoyment and quality. Balanced literacy instruction also provides a balance of teacher directed work as well as student directed work (in which students are given opportunities based on choice and interest).
Within the Douglas School District (kindergarten through 5th grade), students are given the opportunity to engage in reading and writing workshop. Reading workshop (as well as writing workshop) is a best practice in education because it is “a powerful vehicle for student-centered learning” (Zemelman, Daniels & Hyde, 2012, p. 46). Within and outside the reading workshop, students will have the opportunity to listen to texts read aloud, engage in minilessons (provided by the teacher), write about reading, benefit from small group instruction as well as practicing their independent reading skills, and meet individually with the teacher to discuss the books they are reading.