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Basic guidelines for a balanced literacy program:
To become competent in literacy, children need sustained practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing on a daily basis. All children must view themselves as independent readers and writers by third grade. Print-rich classrooms, shared reading and writing, modeling, opportunities for every child to read and write daily, rhymes and chants to develop phonemic awareness, and the expansion of knowledge by reading expository texts are the cornerstones of successful balanced literacy programs.A balanced reading program provides:
It is important to point out that in a balanced literacy program, reading and writing are reciprocal. Therefore, a balanced writing program includes:
The Four Blocks Framework, developed by Dottie Hall, Pat Cunningham, and Cheryl Sigmon is a multilevel, multi-method framework that organizes instruction to provide numerous and varied opportunities daily for all children to learn to read and write.
The framework is divided into three main subdivisions:
In kindergarten classrooms children develop six critical understandings which are the "building blocks" for successful literacy.
1.Children develop the desire to learn to read and write.
2.Students learn new concepts and add words to their vocabularies.
3.Children learn print concepts.
4.Children develop phonemic awareness.
5.Children learn to read some familiar words.
6.Students learn letter names and sounds.
Kindergarten teachers provide opportunities for children by:
Reading/Writing to children
Reading/Writing with children
Providing opportunities for children to read/write by themselves
Four Blocks (Grades 1-3)
Because children learn in different ways, teachers divide their instructional time into four equal blocks.
Goal: To expose students to a variety of literature, and to build comprehension, vocabulary, and reading strategies.
2.Working with Words
Goal: To read, spell, and use high frequency words correctly, and to establish decoding and spelling patterns.
Goal: To allow students to read and enjoy text on their independent reading level, and to build reading fluency and confidence.
Goal: To apply the writing process and knowledge of phonics, spelling, and grammar, and to build fluency and confidence as writers.
Modifying Four Blocks for the Upper Grades (4-8)
additional information on balanced literacy: