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The home of Vocab Gal and other educational experts K–12 resources

August 25, 2015 CL Seasonal Activities Fall, CL Teaching Strategies Charts & Org, ELA PD - Literacy, ELA K-5, ELA Focus - Reading, ELA Seasonal Back to School, ELA Resources - Tip Sheets, ELA Focus - Writing, Core Literacy

Open House Presentation On Balanced Literacy, Grades K–5

The start of the school year means 'Open House' is right around the corner. For me, that 45 minute time period always flew by as I tried to summarize everything we would be covering in reading, writing, word study, math, science & social studies, as well as my behavior incentives, grading policy, homework, etc. It's a lot to discuss in a very short time, but the subject I have always spent the majority of my time on and covered in depth is reading.

Due to the fact that on-going research in best practices in reading has literacy instruction constantly evolving chances are that reading instruction has drastically changed from when your students' parents were in elementary school. Therefore, this is the subject area parents are usually most interested in hearing about. A clear and concise explanation of my classroom literacy instruction has always been the most important part of my 'Open House' presentations.

The methodology I use to teach reading is 'Balanced Literacy.' At my Open House, I discuss each component of balanced literacy and have the parents help me complete a large 'Balanced Literacy' puzzle using bulletin board paper. I have the parents put together this puzzle because that's what 'Balanced Literacy' is, separate pieces coming together to make a whole. The puzzle piece in the center is labeled 'Balanced Literacy' with eight 'Balanced Literacy' components surrounding it.


These are the components of ‘Balanced Literacy’ and how I explain them to parents:

Read Aloud

  • An interactive experience in which readers are engaged in discussing a text throughout the reading

  • Develops high-level thinking and discourse

  • An opportunity to deepen comprehension through discourse and active thinking.

  • Using cognitive resources that actively engage students in thinking about the text, such as the DOK & Bloom's levels will increase rigor and raise the caliber of conversation.


Shared Reading

  • Students are reading a common text with teacher support

  • The text is re-read over the course of several days with various teaching points in mind

  • Fluency is a key goal of this component ultimately leading to higher levels of comprehension



  • Direct and explicit instruction

  • About 10 minutes in length

  • Clear and consistent structure



              -Try/Active Engagement


  • Drawn from a unit of study or a class need

  • Refers to a text for instructional clarity such as a read aloud or shared reading


Independent Reading

  • Students are reading a “just right book” of their choice

  • Students are practicing reading strategies taught in the mini-lesson



  • The teacher is meeting with students individually to discuss and document specific needs and the progress of the individual reader

  • The teacher may review a skill or strategy from a previous conference or set a new goal with the student

  • Conferences with students can be based  on formal (pre & post assessments) and informal (observations & reader's response journal) data.

  • Questions during a conference can be focused on the data collected or can be used as a means to decide what levels the individual still needs work on

  • Goals around the levels can be set with the student

  • Format: researchè decide è teach


Small Group Work

Guided Reading - one type of small group differentiated instruction designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency

  • This small group of students is at the same or similar instructional reading level based on a variety of informal and formal assessments

Strategy Instruction - another type of small group differentiated instruction that brings readers together who are not necessarily on the same instructional level yet these children have demonstrated a common “strategy” need, which is identified by the teacher



Formative assessments are assessments FOR learning

  • Journaling, conferring, observation, self-assessment, portfolios, etc.

Summative assessments are assessments OF learning

  • Unit assessments, standardized assessments, portfolios, etc.


Available for download is a power point of these ‘Balanced Literacy’ components for you to share with your parents at your open house.






The ‘Balanced Literacy’ description above is based on: The Components of Comprehensive Literacy Instruction in the Greenwich Public Schools.