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Balanced Literacy

Today's language arts classroom is diverse and challenging. In response to the rising demands, that ALL children be readers and writers, too often, schools add more of the "same old, same old" and often it does not enhance classroom effectiveness; it may even interfere! To achieve change, Edmonton Catholic's Assessment For Learning project and Balanced Literacy indicate that teachers need to rethink curriculum standards to meet the expanded literacy demands of a technological society. There are critical features which can support or impede literacy learning.

This web area is a practical text for those wanting to create classrooms and schools where children develop a lifelong appreciation for learning as readers and writers and where teachers are reflective practitioners within a professional learning community, who constantly look at the following:

The Research

  • the requirements of The English Language Arts Program of Studies, K - 9
  • what are the influences in today's classroom and how will it help teachers, administrators students, and parents?
  • what is more effective in literacy learning and why?


  • require teaching in big blocks with key ideas
  • 4 kinds of reading and 4 kinds of writing daily
  • increasing the independent reading time
  • space


  • large group area
  • independent work area
  • small group work area for conferences and guided reading/writing
  • a print rich classroom
  • a classroom library
  • centers
  • storage for completed and ongoing student work
  • book rooms
  • word walls

Dynamic and Flexible Grouping​

  • allows children to support each other and feel part of a community of learners
  • allows for efficient use of the teacher's time

Creating and Maintaining a Gradient of Text​

  • that reflects a defined continuum of characteristics related to the level of support
  • AND challenge the reader requires
  • a critical aspect of guided reading in which books are matched to individual children

Gathering the Information

  • allow teachers to gather assessment to plan data-driven instruction using the following:
  • conferences
  • running records
  • teacher observation
  • reading and writing folders
  • standardized tests

Strategies For​

  • reading and writing
  • meta cognition

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