The Balanced Approach to Literacy

It is important to use a balanced approach to literacy to effectively teach students to reading.

A balanced approach to literacy is the most important strategy in teaching students to read. There are many places to go to find different strategies to a more balanced approach. 

I think the best place to get answers to any teaching questions is from people who have been teaching for many years. I have observed many great teachers who use balanced approaches to literacy. I actually firmly believe that a strong phonics foundation leads to strong vocabulary skills, a strong vocabulary leads to fluency, and then fluency leads to comprehension. Writing is a tool that helps kids learn to read fluently and comprehend what they read. 

One of the best teachers I’ve ever observed used the Writing to Read program. I have not been able to find any websites that tell exactly how it works but it was a wonderful program.  Studies have shown that writing is a tool to better reading. The Writing to Read program was very balanced.  Kids start out learning phonics. They use a chant chart and chant their phonics every day. Their skills gradually accelerate as they learn phonics. They are also given site words to practice. While they are doing this they begin writing.  They type stories on the computer typing the words as they hear them. So they might write, “The babe crid al nit long.” It is ok if they spell words wrong, they are writing them.  Once they have typed out their story they print it and read it to the teacher. After reading the story to the teacher she writes the correct spelling under their words. Then the students re-write the story by hand using the proper spelling. Their story is then illustrated by them and placed on the bulletin board. There are so many skills that go into this one story. It uses a balance of skills which helps the students read.

Class discussion, prediction and using pictures to tell the story are balanced approaches to literacy. All of these approaches promote critical thinking which in turn intrigues the student making him or her want to read. Other strategies include reading presentations.

The most effective way to teach reading is through balance. Reading is not just about picking up a book and reading the words. It is about knowing how to sound out the words, understanding what they mean and how to use them. From there a person comprehends what has been read and has a better understanding of literacy.

Picture by Google.com


Kim Miller

About Kim Miller

I am a single mom of two sons, 15 and 18 years old. I also have an 8 month old grandson. I recently earned my BA in Elementary Education and am working toward an MA in Elementary Education. I love working with children and watching them learn.

Kim Miller

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