What Is The Balanced Literacy Approach?

How do you use balance literacy in the classroom?

Develop a Balanced Literacy Approach in the classroom to promote complete literacy development among students. This balanced approach will help students learn to read and become life long learners.

What is the Balanced Literacy Approach?

Balanced literacy is about balancing explicit language instruction with independent learning and language exploration. It aims to strike a balance between both whole language and phonics when learning to read. The strongest elements of each are incorporated into a literacy program that aims to guide students toward proficient and lifelong reading. A typical balanced literacy framework consists of five components including read aloud, guided reading, shared reading, independent reading, and word study.

Role of the teacher

Skillful teachers use their knowledge of literacy development and processes to decide where to go next. They understand when to intervene and when not to; when to draw children’s attention to specific features of the text; and how to model and explain strategies in ways that children can make their own connections.

Thus, the teacher’s role in the Balanced Literacy Approach is to scaffold literacy learning, that is, to actively enhance students’ understanding while they read.

Applying the Approach:

Claire is an English teacher. She believes that a combination and balance of both, whole language and phonics, is the best way to teach reading to her students. She plans her balanced literacy framework by mapping out a whole language classroom where students are taught the meaning of words and texts. Thus, instead of spending time only focusing on sounding words out and other phonics-related lessons, children in her whole language classroom are surrounded by many different types of written language that they can explore. They are able to choose the books and texts that they want to read. For example, during a typical balanced literacy session, she reads aloud to the class. She offers an explicit phonics lesson, like different words that include the blend ‘ch’ in them. Then, she gives her students plenty of time to read on their own or in small groups, allowing them to discover language and reading on their own as well.

Creating reading lessons that help students to not only learn to read but learn to explore reading on their own will help students become life long learners.


Like this article for teachers?

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