Teachers are teaching the above reading standards through a balanced literacy model. The model includes the following structures, which are a part of the daily reading instructional block in K-6 classrooms.
Read Aloud -Teachers read high-quality text aloud that is above the students reading level to model fluent reading, to expose students to new vocabulary and language structures, and to foster a love for reading. Students interact with the text through carefully planned discussion and questioning. Students in K-1 are working on grade-level standards through the read-aloud instructional model. Students in grades 2 - 6 extend their comprehension skills using read-aloud. (Whole group)
Shared Reading- The teacher selects various grade-level text from a variety of genres to teach grade-level standards. This is an interactive reading experience. Students share the reading experience with the teacher. As the teacher models reading expectations, students practice through echo reading, reading chorally with the teacher, or by participating in a partner reading activity. Students interact with the text through a variety of activities to deepen comprehension skills. (Whole group)
Guided Reading - Teachers work with small groups of students using text at their instructional reading level to provide reading tips and strategies, word work support, and guided writing. Students read the text on their own and teachers are there to guide and support them. As students make improvements in reading, they progress in the reading levels. In this small group setting, students establish the fundamental skills necessary for proficient reading. They have opportunities to interact with the text through discussion and guided writing. (Small group)
Independent Reading - Students read self-selected or teacher-selected books at their independent reading level to build reading fluency. This structure allows students to practice and build upon reading strategies that have been previously taught. Students have opportunities to read for pleasure and further develop a love for reading. The teacher may monitor student reading or establish a purpose for reading. (Independent work)
Reading Foundational Skills
The reading foundational skills are the fundamental skills students must acquire to become fluent readers. They include print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency. The instruction of these skills is embedded within the reading structures above through the balanced literacy model.
- Print Concepts include book organization, book handling, directionality (reading left to right and top to bottom), the concept of a letter, a word, a sentence, and the recognition and naming of all upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet. Students must understand that the word is the basic unit of meaning. They should be able to distinguish between pictures and text. Students in Kindergarten and first-grade practice print concepts.
- Phonological Awareness is a building block for students in their understanding of the alphabetic principle. Students must be able to hear and manipulate word parts (syllables, onset/rime) and the individual sounds in words. They participate in a variety of oral and auditory activities to practice rhyming, sentence segmentation, syllable segmentation and blending, sound blending, taking apart individual sounds in words, and deleting and manipulating individual sounds. Students in Kindergarten and first-grade practice phonological awareness.
- Phonics and Word Recognition is the ability for students to apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills to decode (read) words. Students learn the various phonics rules to decode/read and write regular and irregular words. Students in grades K-6 practice phonics and word recognition skills.
- Fluency is the ability to read grade-level text with accuracy, proper pacing and expression to demonstrate an understanding of the text. Students in grades K -6 practice fluency.