Woodruff Primary School utilizes a balanced approach to literacy. This
approach is based upon the work of Dr. Irene Fountas and Dr. Gay Su Pinnell. This approach is described in their book "Guided Reading."
BALANCED APPROACH TO LITERACY
A balanced literacy approach provides a variety of literacy experiences along
a continuum from teacher-directed to student-independent. These experiences include, but are not limited to the following:
Reading Aloud (Teacher reads book aloud to the class.)
Shared Reading (Teacher and students read text together. Text may be a big
book, class-created chart, or poster.)
Guided Reading (Teacher supports student as student attempts to use reading
strategies. Teacher may take running record of reading during this time.)
Independent Reading (Student reads books on independent level. Reading
practice at independent level is critical in the improvement of reading.)
Shared Writing (Students dictate the information while the teacher writes on
Interactive Writing (Students and teacher "share the pen" and both contribute to the writing chart.)
Guided Writing/Writing Conferences (Teacher confers with student on
his/her writing and provides explicit instruction.)
Independent Writing (Students write independently for variety of purposes.)
THREE CUE SYSTEM
Effective readers use the three cue system to interpret text. Struggling
readers depend on only one or two of the systems.
1. Meaning (semantics) - Students obtain meaning from pictures, previous
text, and general meaning of the story.
2. Structure (syntax) - Students form sentences based upon their knowledge of the language (grammar).
3. Visual (graphophonics) - Students decode text based upon how the letters and words look.
If a child is not using all three systems, it is helpful to prompt a child
with these questions or comments.
1. Meaning (semantics)
Does that make sense?
Look at the pictures
What happened in the story?
What do you think it might be?
Can you re-read this?
2. Structure (syntax)
Did that sound right?
Can you re-read that?
Can you say it another way?
What is another word that might fit here?
3. Visual (graphophonic)
Does it look right?
What sound/letter does it start with?
What would you expect to see at the beginning, middle, end?
Where do you start reading?
Point to the words.
Did that match?
Can you point to ______?
Can you find ______?
HOW TO HELP A CHILD WITH UNKNOWN WORDS
Wait!!! The child needs time to try to figure it out before you attempt to
help. Then provide help by using the following strategies:
1. Think about the story
2. Check the picture
3. Go back and get your mouth ready
4. Look for chunks
5. Does that make sense? Would we say it that way?
FIVE COMPONENTS OF READING INSTRUCTION (National Reading Panel):
5. Phonetic Awareness
COMPREHENSION STRATEGY INSTRUCTION
Our comprehension strategy instruction is based upon the work of Ellin Keene, author of "Mosaic of Thought," and Debbie Miller's work "Reading with Meaning." These are some of the concepts we teach to help students comprehend text.
Genres: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, fairy tales, biographies, and more. Understanding the difference between fiction and nonfiction is importantin helping the students construct meaning even before they begin to read.
Schema (Background the reader brings to the text and
connections the reader makes with the text) - Text-to-self connections, text-
to-text connections, and text-to-world connections are all ways to activate schema. If you are reading a book about the beach and you have been to the beach in the past, you will have a better understanding of the book.
Mental Images (Pictures that form in the mind from the reading of the text or poem) When we read, we create images in our mind that help us understand the text. Many times we are doing it but we do not even realize it. If you are reading about an apple that is as big as a softball, you can create an image in your mind because you have seen an apple and a softball.
Inferring - (Using schema and the clues in the book to draw conclusions and interpret text) If a story says that a man is getting his umbrella, we can infer that it is raining even if the text does not specifically mention that it is raining.
Questions (Before, during, and after the reading) When we read, we are constantly asking questions about why something happened or about how the story will end.
Synthesis - Readers bring all their thoughts together about a story to understand more clearly what they have read.
First and second grade teachers also teach the features of nonfiction which we refer to as nonfiction conventions. These include: labels, photographs, captions, comparisons, cutaways, maps, types of print, close-ups, tables of contents, index, and glossary.
Kindergarten teachers begin by introducing the comprehension strategies one at a time during large group and small group instruction. They model using the strategies during shared reading and read alouds. First grade expands on that learning by helping the students use the strategies during their reading. They focus on one skill at a time throughout the year and then review all of the strategies during the last couple of months. Second grade spends a short time reviewing each strategy and then intermingles throughout the rest of the year.
DRA Level 4 - Beginning of First Grade
DRA Level 12 - January of First Grade
DRA Level 18 - End of First Grade/Beginning of Second Grade
DRA Level 24 - December of Second Grade
DRA Level 28 - End of Second Grade
The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is used to determine a student's instructional reading level. It assesses accuracy in reading text, fluency in reading text, and comprehension through retelling.
QUANTITY OF READING...Because we agree with Richard Allington's work that indicates children's reading skills will improve the more time they spend reading on their levels, we are constantly striving to match children with books of high interest and appropriate readability levels. And we are always trying to find more time in the day for children to read, read, read.