Balanced Literacy

A Balanced Literacy approach recognizes that students need to use a variety of strategies to become proficient readers and writers.

It encourages the development of skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in particular, for all students. A Balanced Literacy Program includes:

  • Modeled Reading (Reading Aloud) and Modeled Writing
  • Shared (and interactive) Reading and Shared (and interactive) Writing
  • Guided Reading and Guided Writing
  • Independent Reading and Independent Writing

View the clip of Kindergarten teacher, Lynn Marsden, talking about how she uses a balanced approach each day and throughout the week. Consider how she uses shared reading initially to move the students towards independent reading.
Notice that the level of teacher support decreases as the students move toward independent reading or writing.

  • Model Reading/Writing (Teacher does, student watches)
  • Shared (Interactive) Reading/Writing (Teacher does, student helps)
  • Guided Reading/Writing (Teacher helps, student does)
  • Independent Reading/Writing (Teacher watches, student does)

Interview with Lynn Marsden.

Suggested targets for reading:

  • Modeled Reading (10 min/day),
  • Shared reading (15-20 min/ 3days in a row per 2 week),
  • Guided Reading (1 text / group; 15-20 min / wk),
  • Independent Reading (20 min / day)

Suggested targets for writing:

  • Modeled Writing (every other day; 10-15 min)
  • Shared Writing (every other day; 10-15 min)
  • Guided Writing (2-3 times per week for 40 min)
  • Independent Writing (25-30 min per day). Create a body of work for reflection, assessment and growth.

The following graphic outlines the roles of teachers and students in each category and also suggests which literacy skills are being developed.