Balanced Literacy Framework

Balanced Literacy is a framework made up of instructional elements aimed to guide students toward proficient and lifelong reading and writing. Teachers combine all the elements of literacy, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, language and writing together supporting students learning to read and write while growing in their independence of learning. “Balanced literacy is more than a philosophy; it is holistic, inquiry-based approach to teaching literacy combining authentic, literature-rich activities with explicit reading and writing instruction.”

Mountain Views Elementary’s Balanced Literacy Framework (PreK-2)

Interactive Editing

Description: A method to manipulate text to increase comprehension and/or aid in the writing process.

Purpose: This is a teaching method where the teacher and students work together to edit familiar, error-free text (“edit” in this definition means to change, not to correct). It helps students in determining importance, finding key words, summarizing, editing to a shortened piece, paraphrasing text to write new products, or changing writing categories.

Read Aloud with Purpose/Modeled Reading

Description: Teacher chooses a read aloud based on a specific teaching purpose, then gives explicit instructions on that strategy and models the strategy during the read aloud.

Purpose: Teacher makes her thinking visible, demonstrates proficient reading, expands access to text beyond student’s ability and exposes students to a variety of genres. This element offers the highest level of teacher support.

Modeled Writing

Description: A time for the teacher to “think out loud” by making her/his thinking visible to students. The teacher composes a text by “thinking out loud”. The teacher decides on a specific teaching point for instruction based on children’s needs and then provides explicit instruction through modeling the process for students.

Purpose: Demonstrates proficient writing, expands access to writing beyond student’s ability, exposes students to a variety of genres, models writing strategies, teaches writing strategies, extends understanding of the writing process, teacher scribes.

Shared Reading

Description: This is a shared experience where students and teacher are reading together from a shared text. Teacher is taking the lead and students are following along and actively participating.

Purpose: Teacher voice support makes the text accessible to all readers. It is a time for collaborative practice of a strategy that was taught and modeled during read aloud.  It provides an expert model for fluency. Teacher encourages student to read when able.

Interactive Writing

Description: A process in which the teacher and students, negotiate text,  collaborate on the construction of the text, use conventions of print, reread for fluency and share the role of scribe.

Purpose: Provide direct and explicit instruction in phonology and word analysis, deeper understanding of how written text works, build stamina, promote writing genres, and teach connections between reading and writing.

Guided Reading/Writing

Description: Small group reading/writing instruction based on formal and informal assessments.  Groups are made up of students who have the same instructional needs (not necessarily reading level). These small groups are flexible and are designed by the teacher, after analysis of current student data and observations, to achieve a pre-set instructional focus.

Purpose:Teachers match students with challenging books that are at their instructional level and support their next reading goal. Students become better readers by reading, self-monitoring, problem solving their way through text. Students increase fluency, increase reading and writing vocabulary, work on letter sound associations, and use reading strategies.

Independent Writing

Description: A time for students to assume responsibility and to practice what they have learned during modeled and interactive writing, student chooses the topic, practices at his/her independent level, demonstrates the value of writing.

Purpose: Students are given time to independently write text while the teacher supports students through conferencing, build writing stamina, promote writing a variety of genres and purposes,  focuses on individual strengths and challenges to assess students’ knowledge and skills as a writer

Independent Reading

Description: A time for students to practice reading books at their independent level.

Purpose: A time for students to practice applying strategies they have learned during read aloud, shared reading, and guided reading.  The teacher uses this time to listen to individual students read, conferring with students and informally assessing student in order to determine next teaching/learning steps.

Book Clubs (Extended Learning for K-2)

Description: An instructional approach used to promote individual comprehension of text through application of literacy skills and strategies.

Purpose: Through explicit direct instruction, the teacher encourages students to talk to one another.  Thoughtful responses are modeled and the teacher facilitates students’ thinking towards significant, worthwhile issues in high quality texts

Letter and Word Study

Description: Teacher provides individualized instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, word study, morphology and enhances vocabulary development by allowing students to use vocabulary learning strategies within the context of authentic reading and writing.

Purpose: Engage students in direct study of spelling generalizations, promote automaticity with high frequency words, provides opportunity to practice phonics, grammar, word analysis skills, and directly teach vocabulary. 

Independent Literacy Activities/Centers

Description: Meaningful centers that allow independent work after the modeling phase and are related to the mini lessons and skills being taught.  Everyday, students choose from specific literacy centers.

Purpose: Students helps students develop the habits of reading, writing and working with peers. The goal is to foster good habits and develop lifelong skills of independent literacy.