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Balance Literacy Vs. Whole Language

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Whole language is considered a "top down" approach where the reader constructs a personal meaning for a text based on using their prior knowledge to interpret the meaning of what they are reading. Teachers are expected to provide a literacy rich environment for their students and to combine speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Whole language teachers emphasize the meaning of texts over the sounds of letters, and phonics instruction becomes just one component of the whole language classroom. Problems associated with whole language include a lack of structure that has been traditionally supplied by the scope and sequence, lessons and activities, and extensive graded literature found in basal readers. Whole language puts a heavy burden on teachers to develop their own curriculum.

Balanced Literacy is an approach for teaching literacy that is widely used in classrooms across the country. It involves several methods of teaching and learning reading and writing, whole class instruction directed by the teacher with independent work in reading, writing, and oral language. By integrating a variety of approaches, a balance is achieved in which students learning to understand text (from a whole language approach) as well as how to read text (from a phonics approach). Effective phonics instruction focuses children's attention on noticing the letter/sound patterns in initial consonants and consonant clusters and in rimes.

BALANCED LITERACY provides and cultivates the skills of reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening for all students while recognizing and respecting their cultural, ethnic, and academic diversity. A BALANCED LITERACY Program includes:

* Read Aloud is where someone reads a story, book of fiction, news article, picture book, essay, poem, or trade book to another person.

* Shared Reading is a link in helping students become independent readers. It allows the teacher to model and support students using prediction and confirming skills.

* Guided Reading is an instructional reading strategy during which a teacher works with small groups of children who have similar reading processes and needs. The teacher selects and introduces new books carefully chosen to match the instructional levels of students and supports whole text reading.

* Independent Reading is a time when students self-select and independently read appropriate books.

* Write Aloud, writing is modeled for students by teachers in write-aloud or modeled writing time.

* Shared Writing the teacher and class, or small group, work together to create written text.

* Guided Writing students creating their own writing, with the teacher as guide.

* Independent Writing provides students with the consistent opportunity to apply and practice the skills already introduced and to cultivate their love of and comfort with writing on their own level.

Phonemic awareness is an understanding about spoken language. Children who are phonemically aware can tell the teacher that bat is the word the teacher is representing by saying the three separate sounds in the word. They can tell you all the sounds in the spoken word dog. They can tell you that, if you take the last sound off cart you would have car.

Phonemic Awareness is the awareness that language is composed into small sounds and the ability to manipulate these sounds.

One of the most important foundations of reading success is phonemic awareness. Phonemes are the basic speech sounds that are represented by the letters of the alphabet, and phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are sequences of phonemes. Phonemic awareness is demonstrated by the ability

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