Posts tagged ‘Balanced Literacy’

Five Must Have Literacy Books to Add to Your Shelf

“A child who can read will be an adult who thinks.” By Sasha Salmina

The goal of literacy instruction is to build students confidence, ability and skills in reading and writing. There are numerous engaging, effective strategies to get students to think about, write about, read about, and talk about content. Below are five of my favorite books (in no particular order) to help improve literacy instruction.

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  1. Mindsets and Moves: Strategies That Help Readers Take Charge, Grades 1-8 by Gravity Goldberg
  2. Who’s Doing the Work?: How to Say Less So Readers Can Do More by Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris 
  3. Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration by Pernille Ripp
  4. The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo – She also recently came out with

    The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers and I have heard great reviews but have not personally read it yet.

  5. From Pencils to Podcasts: Digital Tools for Tansforming K-6 Literacy Practices- A Teachers Guide for Embedding Technology Into Curriculum by Katie Stover Kelly and Lindsey Yearta

If there is a literacy book you think that should be added to this list, please add it in the comments section, as I am always wanting to build my toolkit and book list.

Incorporating New Literacies

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” By Vera Nazarian

New literacies refers to literacy through digital technology.  In todays classrooms literacy needs to look a little different because our students are learning  with different tools and for a different type of world. New literacies still focuses on reading skills, strategies, and ideas but through multi-media digital tools. For example, we still need to teach close reading but not just with reading an article online but also with tools such as podcasts and blogs etc. Below are some good resources  for you to explore and try integrating into your classroom. 

Article: 

Infusing Technology into the Balanced Literacy Classroom Jennifer W. Shettel, Ed.D. and Kevin Bower, M.Ed.

Sites:

Literature Map: Students can put in their favorite author and literature map displays other authors that are similar that they might like.

Newspaper Map: Bring any place in the worlds Newspaper to your students finger tips. Click on a location and then on the image icon to pull up the newspaper from that part of the world. Need it translated into your native language, it will translate it for you.

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International Children’s Digital Library:  Find books from all over the world at the on this free site. It doesn’t read the books aloud, but students can read them independently.

Film Canon Project: Films, screen plays and more to add a different type of literacy to your classroom.

Podcasts for Students: Here are curated podcasts that students enjoy and teachers use in the classroom.

News ELA: Find non-fiction articles based on your students levels.

US Digital Literacy: Chalk full of resources and ideas!

Books:

The Reading Strategies BookYour Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers By Jennifer Serravallo Practical strategies to help improve your reading instruction

Smuggling Writing: Strategies That Get Students to Write Every Day, in Every Content Area, Grades 3-12 by Karen D. (Dutson) Wood, David Bruce Taylor, Katie Stover 

Reflections on Balanced Literacy

“It always seems impossible, until it is done.” — Nelson Mandela

I found it appropriate for my two year anniversary for blogging that today’s post would be my first guest bloggers post by Jessica Mize-Wilson. (@jmizewilson)

Recently, I joined a new learning community, The Teacher’s Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP). I had the privilege of attending a TCRWP Homegrown Institute this summer and loved all the “Ah!” moments! It was affirming and satisfying knowing we were teaching readers and writers strategies to master skills that are so broad they can be applied to any type of reading. We are moving from a hybrid basel/reader’s workshop model reading program to full implementation balanced literacy. Balanced literacy, as defined by Cowen, states “A balanced reading approach is research-based, assessment-based, comprehensive, integrated, and dynamic, in that it empowers teachers and specialists to respond to the individual assessed literacy needs of children as they relate to their appropriate instructional and developmental levels of decoding, vocabulary, reading comprehension, motivation, and sociocultural acquisition, with the purpose of learning to read for meaning, understanding, and joy.” Teachers cannot implement balanced literacy alone, in silos! We must share and collaborate! Teaching teams will be most excited about the “instructional synergy” coming into the classroom. Teachers will see how each piece builds on one another and a community of learners (both teachers and students) begin to work together, feeding on each other and a “buzz” about our learning develops!

When I read the units, I begin to see each teaching point build on one another (something I always felt highs and lows with in my hybrid model of reader’s workshop.) I begin to hear and see opportunities for shared reading, interactive writing, word study, conferring, strategy groups and guided reading groups….oh my! Now I am overwhelmed! Not really, but it is easy to do because balanced literacy is about responsive teaching. A lot of decisions cannot be made until the students walk in the door! This fall, as a Literacy Facilitator, I will be coaching teachers in implementing balanced literacy and thought there were a few Ah! Ha! moments to share. So, here goes…

1. The components of balanced reading! Balanced literacy is a complex, dynamic teaching approach. If we want students to become risk takers, we must also take risk. Set your own goal! Choose one component to focus on and get really good at it first. Seeing the big picture and knowing the components of reader’s workshop will help you choose your goal! All of the components work together and offer a balance for students to transfer learning to all areas of their lives.

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2. The mini lesson! Can it really be a mini and not a “maxi”? Yes! The TCRWP shared the architecture of a mini lesson and several conversational moves to keep the lesson at a brisk pace. Using the architecture of a mini lesson accomplishes three goals: planning becomes easier, teaching becomes more efficient and students come to know what to expect so they can better focus on what we’re teaching (builds trust in us!) Sending a message of, “We’ve got this!” load and clear. The mini-lesson is a invitation to try a strategy and the architecture of a mini lesson clearly defines what and how students can become successful readers.

3. Conferring! What am I suppose to talk about that will move students along their current text band and propel them forward to the next text band? It is going to take a lot of balance between mini-lesson instruction, strategy work, guided reading groups, partner work and conferring! Conferring catches a student at the cutting edge of their learning, at the cutting edge of greatness! A lot of times teachers think it is easy to confer with students, until you start! The key to conferring is not talking but listening! Coaching into the greatness is the hard part and it takes a lot of practice. The architecture of a reading conference helps move the conversation along.

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Other Ah! Ha! Moments…
1. Reading Toolkit — teaching into readers needs!
2. #tcrwp chats on Twitter
3. The different types of small group work!

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