We offer a three-block approach to literacy learning in all classrooms, grades K-4. There is reading instruction, writing instruction, and language and word study skill instruction. The rationale underlying this is grounded in the importance of the reading/writing connection; the fact that reading and writing are language based; the value of literature in expanding literacy learning; and the woven thread of content learning throughout all three blocks of the framework.
Daily reading instruction includes:
Read Aloud: the teacher Reads Aloud across a variety of genres; modeling and discussing what was read. This usually happens with the whole class. The goal is to introduce students to genres, good literature, and models of fluent reading
Teacher-Guided Reading: teaching reading comprehension strategies with instructional-level text - across a variety of genres. This usually happens in small, flexible groups. The goal is to teach students strategies for reading a variety of genres.
Independent/Self-Selected/Silent Reading: Students read independently every day. The goal is to increase breadth and depth of reading, strengthen ownership/interest in reading, build stamina as readers, and build a community of readers.
Literature Study: Students learn to use literary devices and tools to analyze literature across a variety of genres. The goal is to help students become familiar with and appreciate a variety of types of literature - and use knowledge of literary devices and features to analyze and interpret quality works of literature (grades 3 and up).
Writing Instruction includes:
Teacher-Guided Writing: This happens across genres and content areas, and explicit teaching of specific features of writing, specific skills and processes, and writing for different audiences. The goal is to teach students the processes and forms of writing.
Independent Writing: Students writing independently across genres with a balance of choice and "on-demand" kinds of writing (some pieces have multiple drafts; some just one). Teachers have individual conferences with students for revision and editing of writing pieces as needed. The goal is to build fluency and flexibility of writing, as well as ownership.
The goal of Language and Word Study is to help students build skills and processes of oral and written language. Instruction includes:
Word and Language Study: systematic teaching, guided practice, discovery work and independent practice of phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, spelling, word origins, vocabulary expansion, grammar and other conventions.
Spelling: phonemic awareness, phonics, word families, syllable spelling, spelling patterns, sight words
Vocabulary: careful word selection, concept-based instruction, morphology, repeated practice and application
Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics: parts of speech, noun-verb agreement, sentence structure
Oral Language: opportunities for active listening and speaking throughout the content areas