• Balanced Literacy Program 


    What is Balanced Literacy?

    Balanced Literacy is a framework designed to help all students learn to read and write effectively. The program stands firmly on the premise that all students can learn to read and write. This balance between reading and writing allows students to receive the teaching needed in order to reach grade level status while allowing students to work at a level that is not frustrating for them.

    What does Balanced Literacy look like at Wake Forest Elementary?

    During our Literacy block, teachers incorporate the five major components of good literacy instruction. Good readers exhibit proficiency in each component.

    What are the five major components of effective literacy instruction?

    • Foundational Literacy Skills (Concepts of Print, Letter knowledge, Phonemic Awareness, and Alphabetic Principle)
    • Word Recognition ( Phonics & Decoding, Sight Word Development)
    • Language & Vocabulary (Listening Comprehension, Oral Expression, Dictionary Use, Inferred Meanings from context, Proper Usage)
    • Fluency ( Ability to read with speed, accuracy & expression 
    • Comprehension (Understanding fiction & Non-Fiction Text)

    What would I see if I entered a classroom?

    Teachers use the following approaches during their Literacy block:

    • Modeled Reading/Writing: Teachers model what reading and writing should look like using Mini-Lessons I DO
    • Shared Reading/Writing: The teacher and students work together using the same text in reading ( Big Book or text shared using Elmo) WE DO
    • Guided Reading/Writing: Small group lessons/conferences to allow students to practice what they have learned during the Modeled & Shared time with teacher guidance YOU DO, I WATCH
    • Independent Reading (Workshop Model): Individual or partner reading based on the students’ independent reading level. Students pick their own text. YOU DO
    • Word Work: Whole group or small group lessons/conferences to develop word recognition skills accomplished through Word Walls, Making Words & Words their Way
    • Interactive Writing: Teachers and students share the pen. Students generate the text. Connects with Science, Social Studies and Literacy
    • Writer’s Workshop: Students write about self-selected topics. Teachers teach a strategy through a mini-lesson. Students put that strategy to practice during their writing time. Conferencing is a crucial piece for teachers to gain knowledge of their students’ strengths and areas that require additional help

    How are students assessed?

    Teachers use a combination of the following to gather evidence of students’ ability. 

    • Observation: Teachers watch students as they work
    • Anecdotal Notes: Teachers take notes as they observe & during conferences
    • Work samples: Classroom work
    • Conferences
    • K-2 Literacy Assessment Instruments: Print Concepts Checklist, Running Records, Oral Retellings, Unassisted Writing samples