The Why? The What? and The How?
Balanced literacy has been defined as “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)
It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.
Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or “pieces” of literacy instruction.
This 8-week series will focus on the components of a complete BALANCED LITERACY program. We will focus on clear and concise definitions. Definitions that educators can discuss in collaborations. A “common language” where we can learn from each other and with each other.
The 8 components we will focus on are:
- Read Alouds
- Shared Reading
- Guided Reading
- Independent Reading
- Modeled / Interactive Writing
- Shared Writing
- Guided Writing / Writer’s Workshop
- Word Work
Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences, teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire.
This week: READ ALOUDS.
As defined by education.com, the teacher reads aloud various types of text. She often models her thinking aloud as she reads. The students participate by listening to the text and the teacher’s thinking strategies and then trying some of them out by talking with partners. The teacher reads the text, therefore taking away the visual sources of information, so that students can focus on meaning and structure.
The READ ALOUD is done BY the teacher FOR the students.
Marie Clay (1991) writes that when teachers read aloud to students “meanings can be negotiated in discussion before, during, and after the story reading” (p.171). Reading aloud to students should include think-aloud or interactive elements and focus intentionally on the meaning “within the text,” “about the text,” and “beyond the text” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006, p.33). Read aloud, as part of the gradual release of responsibility, feeds naturally into shared, guided, and independent reading as teachers demonstrate for students the ways the reading process works (Burkins & Croft, 2010).
Among the many benefits of a read aloud, Rog (2001) lists the following:
- building vocabulary
- developing understandings of story structures
- supporting developing connections between print elements
- encouraging high levels of understanding
- teaching the reading process in a meaningful context
- modeling fluency
- motivating students to read
There are many types of print for Read Alouds. Classroom library books, Big Books, chapter books, charts, and poetry are resources for teachers to read TO students.
Here some great educators share their resources.
has a list of First Grade Read Alouds.
Mia at the Pragmatic Mom also has a list.
Pinterest has many fun and exciting ideas!
The main goal of a read aloud is to engage students with the text.
To create their own thinking based on their life connections, and discuss the text with peers. Each will bring their own comprehension based on their life experiences. As they learn to communicate their thoughts and understanding to others, their own comprehension will expand. The teacher has an opportunity to draw the students INTO the book. Use your storytelling techniques, be the characters, create the world using your voice, and open the doors to new adventures.
Paige from Our Elementary Lives shows us HOW to plan a Read Aloud Lesson.
And there are MORE. Click the links below for more information on READ ALOUDS.
In summary, a READ ALOUD is a book, a chart, a poem on a smartboard, or any other text, where the teacher reads TO the students using self-questions and think aloud reading strategies. The goal is to model fluent and expressive reading. The students then INTERACT with the text through discussions, writing, and/or thinking for themselves.
These literacy posts may help in YOUR Balanced Literacy journey.
These resource books for TEACHERS may be helpful for YOUR reading.
I hope YOU are prepared to practice DAILY Read Alouds in YOUR classroom!
Stay tuned for next week… Week 2 Shared Reading.
Please share with friends.
Leave me a comment…How do YOU use Read Alouds in YOUR classroom?