A Balanced Approach to Literacy…

Balanced Literacy* is a curricular methodology that integrates various modalities of literacy instruction. Assessment-based planning is at the core of this model. The balanced literacy approach is characterized by explicit skill  instruction and the use of authentic texts. 

Through various modalities, the teacher implements a well-planned comprehensive literacy program that reflects a gradual release of control, whereby centricity and responsibility is gradually shifted from the teacher to the students. The labels to, with and by characterize the modalities as follows:

The teacher models by reading or writing to the students within the following modalities:
•  Interactive Read Aloud
•  Demonstration or Modeled Writing
•  Word Study

The teacher reads or writes with the students within the following modalities:
•  Shared Reading
•  Shared Writing or Interactive Writing
•  Guided Reading (reading at instructional level with close conferring)
•  Word Study

Reading and writing is done by the students, independently within the following modalities: (with teacher observation and conferring)
•  Independent Reading  (with teacher observation and conferring)
•  Independent Writing within writing process (with teacher observation and conferring)
•  Word Study

The overall purpose of balanced literacy instruction is to provide students with a differentiated instructional program which will support the reading and writing skill development of each individual.

*Fountas, Irene, Pinnell. (2001). Guiding Readers and Writers/Grades 3-6. Heinemann.