Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Balanced Literacy is more than Literacy!

Submitted by: Sharia Warnecke [Instructional Consultant]

Whole Class Read Aloud
Danielle Delsnider is a grade one teacher at Douglas Park School who was interested in support to ensure she was providing a balanced literacy program. We began by looking at her classroom data and formed guided reading groups and literature circles. As well, we used the data to determine the need and focus for whole class strategy instruction, to make certain she was meeting all outcomes. Danielle was already familiar with The Daily Five and the components and routines were well established. We introduced The Cafe into her existing structure and the use of Literacy Place resources.

However, as part of the restructuring we quickly realized that we also needed to adjust the schedule. Several students were receiving reading intervention during her ninety minute literacy block. In collaboration with the LRT, Pat Delaney, and Marnie Hubbard, the Reading Effects teacher, who were providing direct service, it was agreed that all students would remain in the class for whole class instruction and that the reading supports would occur afterwards as part of The Daily Five structure. It was clear that balanced literacy is more than balancing literacy! 

Pat Delaney Guided Reading
Pat switched her time table and her students are now a part of Read to Someone, during the first round of The Daily Five. Marnie moved her Reading Effects time and space so she is now located in the open area. She has already seen the advantages to the move as she is able to incorporate the lesson into her instruction. Marnie also knew that additional benefits included the use of common language and reinforcing the classroom instruction (that she can now hear). The new physical space means that there is less time wasted on transitions and fewer classroom interruptions.

Marnie Hubbard Reading Effects
While on the surface this can all appear very straight forward, it was entirely dependent on the willingness, collaboration and flexibility of all parties. We have so much support available, but are we effectively utilizing that support? Are we maximizing the enhancement of student instruction? Another question to consider is how we wrap around new teachers in our schools to build capacity. Thanks to Pat and Marnie, Danielle, in the second year of her teaching career, will now receive much more than literacy support!

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