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Comprehensive Literacy Model

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Doug Hulst

on 25 June 2014

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Transcript of Comprehensive Literacy Model

Ability to listen, speak, read,
write, and think.

One of the critical success factors of any school is to teach students to read and read well. Many would say that writing is just as important. A program, which takes a comprehensive and balanced approach to addressing all five reading skill areas while integrating writing, will be successful. In addition to writing, these five reading skill areas include: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension.
Assessment for comprehension should happen on both an informal and formal basis.

Informal Assessment: Monitor Students Progress After Reading

Have discussions and conversations about texts that include open-ended, more complex questions
Observe students as they read and respond
Have students retell stories and monitor for accuracy and completeness of responses

Formal Assessment: Comprehension can be assessed using various retell rubrics or by using the DIBELS Measures
Oral Reading Fluency Measures
Retell Fluency Measures
Common Core State Standards
Comprehensive Literacy Model
(Cooper, Kiger, Robinson & Slansky, 2012)

Approaches: Writing takes practice and a supportive environment. The National Institute of Literacy (2007) makes the following recommendations to support instruction:

Make writing a regular part of the activities in every class, across content areas.
Give students opportunities to engage in extended writing.
Ask leading questions that prompt students to plan next steps in the writing process. What type of writing do they want to produce?
Model a love for writing by sharing your work with students.
Convey the ways in which writing will be useful to them in their lives outside of school.
Connect writing to reading and other academic subjects.
Display the students' writings in prominent places.

Differentiation: According to the National Institute of Literacy (2007), it is important to provide direct, explicit, and systematic instruction; teach students the importance of pre-writing; provide a supportive instructional environment; use rubrics to assess writing; and appreciate individual needs. In addition, encourage writing on topics of interest.

Rationale: Students who don’t write well are not able to learn and communicate effectively (National Institute of Literacy, 2007).

Goal: To apply individual understanding of the English language and all of it's nuances to communicate ideas, messages and stories in a written form.
Words known by an individual.
Recognition vocabulary: words an individual can pronounce and understand when encountered.
Meaning vocabulary: words one knows regardless of recognition.
(Cooper et al., 2012)
Reading Standards
4th Grade Standards
2. Reading for All Purposes
1. Comprehension and fluency matter when reading literary texts in a fluent way
2. Comprehension and fluency matter when reading informational and persuasive texts in a fluent way
There are two components to assessing fluency:

Words per minute (WPM)/reading rate
How many words are read correctly in one minute (speed).

Miscue Analysis or Running Record
A written record of a student's oral reading including omissions and mistakes (accuracy).

DIBELS is a common system used in many schools.

Overall fluency can be rated using the following oral reading rubric suggested by Busy Teachers Cafe (n.d.).

Comprehension activities are plentiful and via a quick web search specific activities can be found for any subject desired. Sample 4th/5th grade activities include:

Differences between Narrative and Expository Text Activity

Critical Reading Activity

Paired Reading Activity

Descriptions follow...

Activities are what make fluency in students a reality. As mentioned in the research, students must practice and practice often. There must be plenty of opportunities both in and out of school in order for students to gain the desired level of automaticity or in other words, reading words with no noticeable effort (Cooper, et al, 2012).

Those opportunities should include activities such as the following in modeled reading, guided reading and in practice and performance.
Phonics Standards
Phonics evolves from phonemic awareness and is demonstrated in the early grade level standards.

Kindergarten: Decoding words in print requires alphabet recognition and knowledge of letter sounds

First Grade: Decoding words require the application of alphabetic principles, letter sounds, and letter combinations
Writing Standards
4th Grade Standards
3. Writing and Composition
1. The recursive writing process is used to create a variety of literary genres for an intended audience
2. Informational and persuasive texts use the recursive writing process

5th Grade Standards
3. Writing and Composition
1. The recursive writing process contributes to the creative and unique literary genres for a variety of audiences and purposes
2. The recursive writing process creates stronger informational and persuasive texts for a variety of audiences and purposes
3. Conventions apply consistently when evaluating written texts
Research has determined that reading and writing should be taught together. According to Cooper et al., (2012) there are five major reasons for doing so:
Both are constructive processes
Both share similar processes and kinds of knowledge
When taught together, achievement is improved
When taught together, communication is fostered
Combining reading and writing develops critical thinking
According to the University of Oregon's Center on Teaching and Learning (n.d.), Student's in kindergarten and first grade should be assessed a minimum of three times a year. Identified at-risk students should be assessed bi-monthly.

Phonemic awareness can be assessed using the DIBELS system both for initial sounds fluency (ISF) and phoneme segmentation fluency (PSF).

ISF measures phonological awareness by assessing a child's ability to recognize and produce the initial sound in an orally presented word.

PSF assesses a student's ability to segment three- and four-phoneme words into their individual phonemes fluently.

Phonemic Awareness Standards
Phonemic awareness instruction occurs early on in one's education. PA standards in Colorado are established beginning with preschool age children.

Preschool: Early knowledge of phonemic awareness is the building block of understanding language

Kindergarten: Vocal sounds produce words and meaning to create early knowledge of phonemic awareness

First Grade: Identifying and manipulating phonemes in spoken words allow people to understand the meaning of speech
To know a word is much more than just knowing it's definition. According to Stahl and Bravo (2010), assessment should take into account incrementality, multidimensionality and the students' level of use.

Teachers should use a content vocabulary assessment system where assessments measure both the breadth and depth of a word. Students should be held accountable for words which are essential for understanding the content within a given unit.

There are several vocabulary or word work programs available for teachers. An example is Words Their Way. These programs provide explicit instruction on a multitude of word families via sorts and morphology. Also included are assessment materials.

Examples of assessments (Stahl & Bravo, 2010):
Vocabulary Knowledge Scale: A self-report assessment where students identify their knowledge of a word and a constructed response.
Vocabulary Recognition Task: A teacher constructed yes/no task that estimates vocabulary recognition in a content area.
Vocabulary Assessment Magazine: An assessment used to measure content knowledge, comprehension strategy use and reading comprehension of texts.
Phonics activities encourage students to pronounce letters and put sounds together. There are countless activities which can be used to accomplish this goal.

A favorite activity after explicit instruction has occurred is to have students take part in a book hunt. For example, have students look for vowel teams in
Frog and Toad
by Arnold Lobel. Then instruct them to write the words in a graphic organizer based on the vowel team found.

Wilson (2008) suggests many simple activities which can be used to enhance a teacher's phonics lesson. Some of these follow:

Cooper, Kiger, Robinson and Slansky (2012) state that developing short and meaningful routines to help with this learning process is a key step in developing phonemic awareness. There are many things that can be done with children, which will help with their phonemic awareness and thus eventually their ability to read. The following are several suggestions:

Counting Sounds and Syllables
Segmenting and Blending

Vocabulary Standards
4th Grade
2. Reading for All Purposes
3. Knowledge of complex orthography (spelling patterns), morphology (word meanings), and word relationships to decode (read) multisyllabic word contributes to better reading skills

5th Grade
2. Reading for All Purposes
3. Knowledge of morphology and word relationships matters when reading

When planning for instruction, the CORE Phonics Survey can be administered to beginning or progressing readers. This is an easy but comprehensive way to assess letter-sound knowledge (phonics skills) in kindergarten through eighth grade students. By identifying specific skills that are lacking, teachers can gear their instruction to meet the needs of the individual student.

The CORE Phonics Survey can be accessed by pasting the following link into your browser.
There are numerous vocabulary related activities which based on research are effective. Learning Tasks, (n.d.) suggests these four as well as many others:

Use of the Frayer Model
Graffiti Vocabulary
Making Meaning
Interview a Word
Research indicates that phonics instruction should be systematic and taught in a clearly defined sequence.

Early instruction is beneficial.

Classroom instruction may be just as effective as small group work or individual instruction/tutoring.

"The best phonics programs are deliberately integrated into reading and writing instruction."

(McCardle & Chhabra, 2004).
Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention integrates assessment and intervention within a multi‐level prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems.

Essential Components of RTI
1. Multi-level prevention system
2. Universal Screening
3. Progress Monitoring
4. Data-based decision making

Tier I (Primary prevention): High quality core instruction in the general classroom
Tier II (Secondary prevention): Research based interventions provided to at-risk students
Tier III (Tertiary prevention): Individualized and intensive intervention

(Center for RTI, 2014)
Colorado (4th & 5th Grade)
5th Grade Standards
2. Reading for All Purposes
1. Literary texts are understood and interpreted using a range of strategies
2. Ideas found in a variety of informational texts need to be compared and understood
3. Knowledge of morphology and word relationships matters when reading
CDE, 2010
(Colorado 4th & 5th Grade)
(CDE, 5th Grade, 2010)
Colorado (4th & 5th Grade)
(CDE, 4th Grade, 2010)
References - Cont.

Herrera. (2008). Author’s Viewpoint and Author’s Purpose Help. Retrieved from

Learning Tasks. (n.d.). 15 Vocabulary Strategies in 15 Minutes. Retrieved from

Learning Wish. (2012). Understanding Genre. Retrieved from

LearningRX. (2014). Reading Success. Retrieved from

McCardle, P., & Chhabra, V. (2004). The Voice of Evidence in Reading Research. Baltimore,
MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company

National Institute for Literacy. (2007). Key Literacy Component: Morphology. Retrieved from

National Institute for Literacy. (2007). Key Literacy Component: Writing. Retrieved from

Ryles, D. (2013). It's Easy to Differentiate Instruction with Vocabulary.com. Retrieved from

Scholastic Red. (2002). CORE Phonics Survey. Retrieved from

Stahl, K., & Bravo, M. (2010). Classroom Vocabulary Assessment for Content Areas. Retrieved from

University of Oregon Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Assessing Phonemic Awareness. Retrieved from

University of Oregon Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.).. Fluency: Concepts and Research. Retrieved from

Wilson, M. (2008). Ten Simple Phonics Activities Requiring Little Preparation. Retrieved from
(CDE, Vertical Progressions, 2010)
(CDE, 4th Grade, 2010)
(CDE, 5th Grade, 2010)
CDE, Vertical Progressions, 2010)
The state of Colorado takes seriously the role of educating students so that they are well prepared for future success. To be successful, students must have command of reading and writing and all skills associated with these critical areas of focus for education.

Among Colorado's state standards, two contribute to the success of all others; Standard 2 in Reading, Writing and Communicating - Reading for All Purposes and Standard 3 in Reading, Writing and Communicating - Writing and Composition.

The integration of these two standards into a balanced literacy instructional program will contribute to the success of educating the children of Colorado.
Phonemic awareness according to Brummit-Yale (2012) is the single strongest indicator for a child’s success in learning to read; “it creates a bridge between spoken and written language.”

There is a growing list of support for the importance of phonemic awareness and it's ability in predicting the success of reading acquisition. Research, as highlighted by the cognitive improvement center LearningRx (2014), includes:

88% of reading difficulties comes from weak phonemic awareness
Strong phonemic awareness contributes to increased reading fluency throughout life
Phonemic awareness is the best predictor of the ease of early reading acquisition (better than IQ, vocabulary and listening comprehension)
By the age of five 80% of children have phonemic awareness skills, 20% do not
Without explicit instruction students who lack phonemic awareness are likely to lack it throughout life
Phonemic awareness is teachable

(U of O: CTL, n.d.)
Phonics deals with the “relationships between the letters of the written language and the individual sounds of spoken language. It teaches children to use these relationships to read and write words” (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborn, pg. 11, 2000). As teachers we must help students learn the relationships between the letters and sounds of the alphabet in order to help them become successful readers.

Approaches: Phonics instruction should be systematic and explicit and introduced in kindergarten or at the very least, first grade. Approaches include: synthetic phonics, analytic phonics, analogy-based phonics, phonics through spelling, embedded phonics and onset-rime phonics instruction.

Differentiation: According to McCardle and Chhabra (2004), "phonics instruction is considered particularly beneficial to children with reading problems because poor readers have exceptional difficulty decoding words." In addition, phonics instruction would appear to benefit English language learners as well.

Rationale: Phonics instruction helps students understand the alphabetic principle and that there is a systematic and predictable way that letters and sounds relate to each other.

Goal: In addition to understanding how letters and combination of letters represent sounds of speech, students must know the letters and corresponding sounds.
“Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly” (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborn, pg. 19, 2000). Students must gain the ability to read accurately and quickly in order to ultimately comprehend what they are reading.

Approaches: Repeated and monitored oral reading and extensive independent silent reading are the primary means to gaining fluency (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborn, pg. 19, 2000).

Differentiation: Just as in all reading skill areas, both English language learners and students with special needs benefit from adjustments in pacing of instruction, flexible grouping, frequent monitoring and linking assessment to instruction (Chard, n.d.).

Rationale: The more students read the more fluent they become enabling them to read for comprehension.

Goal: To read accurately and quickly while comprehending text.
“Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words” (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborn, pg. 1, 2000). Students must gain an understanding and awareness of how sounds work together to make words.

Approaches: When working with phoneme instruction, it is important that the teacher focuses on only one or two types of manipulation. Possible strategies include: phoneme isolation, phoneme identity, phoneme categorization, phoneme blending, phoneme segmentation, phoneme deletion, phoneme addition, and phoneme substitution.

Differentiation: Response to Intervention Tier II support through reading proficiency centers. Programs could include F.A.S.T by Stephen Tattum.

Rationale: Phonemic awareness is one of the basic building blocks of reading and is a critical skill. Students who have difficulty with the sounds of spoken words will have a difficulty in relating them to written words. Phonemic awareness is needed to read words and help with fluency. Ultimately, it will also help with comprehension. Not only does phonemic awareness instruction help students learn how to read, but it helps them learn how to spell as well.

Goal: Students must mater manipulation of individual sounds enabling the blending and segmenting of words.
Diamond (2011) proclaims that research tells us:
No two children are alike.
No two children learn in the identical way.
An enriched environment for one student is not necessarily enriched for another.
In the classroom we should teach children to think for themselves.

In order to be successful, instruction must be differentiated in order to best meet the needs of the individual learner.

Instruction can be differentiated in four ways:
By content or topic
By process or activities
By product
By manipulating the environment through accommodating individual learning styles

(Diamond, 2011)

According to Armbruster, et al (2000), in their pursuit of understanding, “good readers are both purposeful and active.” Furthermore, “Comprehension is the reason for reading (p. 41). Students must be able to understand and make sense of what is read.

Approaches: There are two major approaches to comprehension strategy instruction, direct explanation (DE) and transactional strategy instruction (TSI). DE has teachers explain the mental reasoning or processes in an explicit manner whereas, TSI looks to have teachers facilitate discussions in which students collaborate and construct meaning develop interpretations of the strategies presented (McCardle & Chhabra, 2004).

Differentiation: Use of leveled materials and books is critical. Topics should be of interest to students.

Rationale: Motivation to learn can be a result of using comprehension strategies providing the drive necessary to continue to progress in education (Armbruster, 2000).

Goal: To construct meaning through reading by learning strategies to understand.
“Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively” (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborn, pg. 29, 2000). Teachers must support the expansion of the student’s vocabulary base through direct and indirect means as well as teaching word learning strategies.

Approaches: Both direct and indirect instruction. Word-learning strategies include: how to use dictionaries and other aids, how to use parts of words in order to decipher meaning, and how to use context clues.

The National Institute for Literature (2014) encourages morphology instruction. "Morphology describes how words are formed from building blocks called morphemes, the smallest unit of meaning in a word. Students who don’t understand this structure have trouble recognizing, understanding, and spelling words."

Differentiation: It is important to target vocabulary instruction to students ability whether it is for English Language Learners or students with special needs. According to Ryles (2013), this can be accomplished by creating vocabulary lists for all students from assigned reading. Then have students create their own additional list of ten words (or more) that they are having the most trouble learning. Write the definition, a sample sentence and a graphic to represent the word. Quiz the students based on the original list

Rationale: Vocabulary is important part in learning to read. It ultimately allows students to comprehend what they are reading.

Goal: Learn the words necessary to communicate effectively as well as how words are constructed in order to help with deciphering meaning.
A Comprehensive Model
Phonemic Awareness
(Cooper et al., 2012)
(Cooper et al., 2012)
(Cooper et al., 2012)
(Cooper et al., 2012)
The part of reading that involves constructing meaning by interacting with text.
The knowledge that words are composed of sounds (phonemes).
The use of one's knowledge of the relationship between the letters and the sounds the letters represent to help in determining the pronunciation of a word.
The ability to read words of connected text smoothy and without significant word recognition problems.
By Doug Hulst Regis University

EDRG 644 Professor Misti Snow

Evaluating a student can be difficult, time consuming and stressful. In most cases, there is a tremendous amount of information, which needs to be carefully scrutinized. In other cases, there might not be enough information. Regardless of the amount of information, however, we as teachers are responsible for decisions that can shape and determine a student’s future. The pressure to make the right decisions on behalf of each student is a good pressure to have and part of the joy of teaching.

Assessment (Cooper et al., 2012):
Is an ongoing process
Is an integral part of instruction
Must be authentic
Should be collaborative and reflective
Should be developmentally and culturally appropriate
Identifies student strengths
Supports improvement of teaching

A Balanced Literacy Model
Word Work
Phonemic Awareness


6+1 Traits

Word Work
"The process of using symbols (letters of the alphabet, punctuation and spaces) to communicate thoughts and ideas in a readable form."
English Club, 2014
Once upon a time...
According to the research as put forth by the University of Oregon's Center for Teaching and Learning (n.d.), successful readers:
Rely primarily on the letters in the word rather than context or pictures to identify familiar and unfamiliar words.
Process virtually every letter.
Use letter-sound correspondences to identify words.
Have a reliable strategy for decoding words.
Read words for a sufficient number of times for words to become automatic.

To get to a point of fluency, one must practice and practice often. Through practice, one becomes automatic. Once automatic, the emphasis becomes on constructing meaning from the text, not the words themselves.

The National Institute for Literacy (2014) states that research supports teaching comprehension strategies in a direct, explicit and systematic way such as the following three phase approach:

Phase 1: Explicit training and teacher modeling
Teacher led lecture/discussion
Strategy is named
How to use strategy
Explicit modeling strategy
Examples of when to use strategy
Possible adjustments to strategy for
different tasks
Usefulness of strategy

There are four basic writing domains, each with a specific purpose (Cooper et al., 2012).

Sensory/Descriptive - Describing something in rich detail
Imaginative/Narrative - Telling real or imaginary stories
Practical/Informative - Presentation of information without analysis
Analytical/Expository - Writing explains, analyzes or persuades (answers why)

Activities revolve around the example work products that follow...
Weekly Instruction
Letters on the Board
At first, the teacher writes some letters on the board. The teacher reads out a word, one at a time, and asks the students to try and spell each word using only the letters on the board. It is always a good idea to stop after the first word in order to write the correct spelling on the board. This can then be used as a reference point for the students for successive words. After reading out five to ten words, go through the spellings of each word. Also, limit the number of vowel sounds you practice as the variety of sounds they represent can be really challenging for students, especially beginners.
Speed Reading
Write a number of words on the board. If necessary, go over the pronunciation of each word. Then read through a list of the same words at a good speed leaving out only one of the words. The students should be listening to you read the list of words while following along on the board. After you are finished, they tell you which word (words) you didn’t read out. This activity can be targeted for a higher level by adjusting the vocabulary used, the speed you read, the number of words you leave off, or by doing additional tasks (e.g., like telling you which word you read wasn’t on the board).
Phonics Bingo
Write a good number of sounds on the board, e.g., pha, ma, la, ga. The students would choose a designated number of sounds you wrote and write them on an available space for writing. You would then play this like bingo and read out the sounds one by one. The students can get bingo when they have three of their sounds chosen or all of their sounds chosen. It is a good idea to go over all of the sounds written on the board beforehand to help ease comprehension.
Missing Sound
Draw or show an image on the blackboard. Beside the image, write all but one of the sounds. For example, there is a picture of a dog on the board, you write ‘og’ beside it and the students have to provide you with the missing sound, not the letter. This can be made into a group contest or a simple whole-class exercise where you would give the class time to think of the answer and get everyone to say the answer at the same time.
(Wilson, 2008)
(Wilson, 2008)
(Wilson, 2008)
(Wilson, 2008)
(Scholastic Red, 2002)


According to McCardle and Chhabra (2004), research indicates that reading ability is affected by vocabulary size. Context learning is important, but direct instruction is effective as well. It is important for both improving vocabulary and comprehension.

Research suggests the following components be included in vocabulary instruction (Learning Tasks, n.d.):
Definitional and contextual information about a word
Multiple exposures to a word in different contexts
Student's active participation in their own learning of new words
Graffiti Vocabulary
When the vocabulary words are associated with subject specific concepts, have the student create word posters. Provide recognition for good work by transforming the student work into the class word wall!

Graffiti Criteria
1. Vocabulary word is drawn using bubble letters
2. Description of term using own words
3. At least 3 images representing the term
4. All white space must be colored in
Making Meaning
This is a great anticipatory activity to introduce students to context clues. Identify 4-5 vocabulary words from the text that students will need to understand in order to comprehend the text. In order to activate prior knowledge, students will brainstorm what they already know about the vocabulary term. Do a think-pair-share if you perceive that they will have difficulty with the new terms. During the reading, use the think aloud strategy to model how context clues provide context and give meaning to the vocabulary words.
Interview a Word
Turn vocabulary acquisition into a game. Using the Interview a Word strategy, students will review and summarize learning to develop concepts and comprehension.

Select key words important to understanding a concept or unit.
Divide class into teams of 2-4 students.
Give each team a word and list of interview questions.
Have students “become” the word and write answer to questions.

Without revealing the word, the teacher or a student acts as interviewer and asks the questions as team members read their written answers. After the interview, the class guesses the word.
The Frayer Model
This graphic organizer helps students to learn new vocabulary by not only defining the term in their own words, but contextualizing it through authentic examples and visual representation.

The Gallery Walk
Identify and list the essential vocabulary for the unit. Working in groups of 3-4 students, assign each team ONE term.
Introduce the Frayer Model by modeling the strategy.
Facilitate student learning by conferencing with each group and using probing questions to help students think through their reasoning.
Assign one student in the group as the 'presenter'. The other team members will circulate the room to other groups to learn about their term.
(Learning Tasks, n.d.)
(Learning Tasks, n.d.)
(Learning Tasks, n.d.)
(Learning Tasks, n.d.)
According to Canizares (2014), one of the best ways to gain phonemic awareness is through the singing of songs. Sing songs together with children, making note of the rhyming and word patterns. Songs such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star work well. Another way to address rhyming is by reading out loud and modeling the correct sounds that words make. Everyone love Dr. Seuss, and his books such as Hop on Pop, or There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, are perfect for developing phonemic awareness (Cooper et al., 2012).
Counting Sounds and Syllables
Another great way to encourage phonemic awareness is by counting sounds and syllables. Cooper et al. (2012), suggests that after reading a book to a child, select several two or three sound words and model the sounds for the child. The clapping game can help with this. Have children clap for each sound in the word they hear.
Segmenting and Blending
Again, as Cooper et al. (2012) state, after reading a book aloud to a child, both segmenting and blending activities can be used to encourage and develop phonemic awareness. For segmenting select two syllable words and say the words by stretching them out and then indicate that the word has two syllables. For blending, say words in their parts to the child and model how it is possible to blend the two syllables together to make a word.
(Busy Teachers Cafe, n.d.)
Modeled Reading
Read Aloud - Teacher reads to class
Books on Tape - Students listen to tape and follow along in a book
Buddy Reading - Upper grade student reads to lower grade student
Guided Reading
Choral Reading - Teacher leads all students in reading aloud together
Peer/Paired Reading - Students take turns reading giving each other feedback
Echo Reading - Teacher reads a passage first then students read out loud together
Tape Assisted Reading - Student follows along with a book on tape
Buddy Reading - Upper grade student listens to a lower grade student read and gives appropriate feedback
Practice and Performance
Repeated Reading - Practice with the same passage numerous times. Teacher provides feedback
Independent Reading - Student choice at correct level
Reader's Theater - Performance reading based on a script
(Busy Teacher's Cafe, n.d.)
(Busy Teacher's Cafe, n.d.)
(Busy Teacher's Cafe, n.d.)
(University of Oregon, Center for Teaching and Learning, 2014)
Paired Reading
Choose a correctly leveled book and read with an adult or older sibling. Once finished, complete the following graphic organizer.

Sample 5th grade books include:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Critical Reading
Choose two persuasive articles about the same topic, one positive and one negative then read them aloud and determine that the articles are meant to persuade the reader. Students can then evaluate the author’s viewpoints. Evaluate using the following questions suggested by Herrera (2008) and then have students write their own persuasive article.
Differences between Narrative and Expository Text
Have students select a topic, which they find interesting, and want to learn more about. Once selected, have each student research and select four texts, each of which represents their chosen topic. Texts should include: a narrative, poetry, a play, and an informational expository piece. Have students take notes in a writing journal for different text features and how their selected text represents those features using a graphic organizer (review of graphic organizers may be necessary) of their choice. Then encourage them to draw conclusions about their likes, dislikes and preferences.
(Learning Wish, 2012)

• What opinions or belief statements are evident in the article?
• Why do you think the author has this particular opinion or point of view?
• What background information about the author does the reader have that may help understand the writer’s point of view? (Point of reference)
• Would another author have a different point of view depending on his/her background experiences?
• What pictures does the author paint for a reader?
• What evidence did the author include to support their opinions?
• What facts were missing?
• What words and phrases did the author use to present the information? (Students collect samples of the language an author uses to identify the context in which ideas are presented.)
• Why did the author write this selection? Identifying the author’s purpose helps students recognize possible viewpoints, especially in persuasive writing.
• What opinions or belief statements are evident in the article?
• Why do you think the author has this particular opinion or point of view?
• What background information about the author does the reader have that may help understand the writer’s point of view? (Point of reference)
• Would another author have a different point of view depending on his/her background experiences?
• What pictures does the author paint for a reader?
• What evidence did the author include to support their opinions?
• What facts were missing?
• What words and phrases did the author use to present the information? (Students collect samples of the language an author uses to identify the context in which ideas are presented.)
• Why did the author write this selection? Identifying the author’s purpose helps students recognize possible viewpoints, especially in persuasive writing.
(Herrera, 2008)
(Croak, 2012)
Comprehension Strategies
Comprehension Monitoring - Awareness of how well what is read is understood
Cooperative learning - Small groups of students working together
Graphic Organizers - Visual representations of text
Story structure - Organization of a story into it's components
Answer Questions - Answer questions based on text
Ask Questions - Engaged in reading through posing own questions
Summarize - Focus on main ideas
Multiple Strategies - Skilled readers use more than one strategy

(McCardle & Chhabra, 2004)
Research - cont.
Phase 2: Guided Practice
Breaking strategy into simplified steps
Give cue cards/checklists for steps
Revert to and from explicit instruction and modeling
Allow small group work to practice strategy

Phase 3: Independent Practice and Debriefing
Provide opportunities for students to practice on their own
Debrief - ask what strategies were used, how they were used and how well they worked

Sensory/Descriptive Activities
Independent Writing
Diary, Journal, Letters, Class notes, Poems

Collaborative Writing
Diary, Journal, Letters, Poems

Guided Writing
Diary, Journal, Letters, Class notes, Poems

Shared Writing
Diary, Journal, Letters, Poems

Diary, Journal, Letters, Class notes, Poems
Imaginative/Narrative Activities
Independent Writing
Letters, Short Stories, Poems

Collaborative writing
Letters, Short Stories, Poems

Guided Writing
Letters, Short Stories, Poems

Shared Writing
Letters, Short Stories, Poems

Letters, Short Stories, Poems
Independent Writing
Lists, Reports, Letters, Directions, Class notes, Invitations

Collaborative writing
Lists, Reports, Letters, Directions, Class notes, Invitations

Guided Writing
Lists, Reports, Letters, Directions, Class notes, Invitations

Shared Writing
Lists, Reports, Letters, Directions, Class notes, Invitations

Lists, Reports, Letters, Directions, Class notes, Invitations

Independent Writing
Reports, Letters to the Editor, Reviews, Poems

Collaborative writing
Reports, Letters to the Editor, Reviews, Poems

Guided Writing
Reports, Letters to the Editor, Reviews, Poems

Shared Writing
Reports, Letters to the Editor, Reviews, Poems

Reports, Letters to the Editor, Reviews, Poems
(Cooper,et al., 2012)
(Cooper,et al., 2012)
(Cooper,et al., 2012)
(Cooper,et al., 2012)
Daily Instruction
Weekly Instruction - Cont.

Armbruster, B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2000). Put Reading First: Kindergarten Through Grade
3. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.

Brummitt-Yale, J. (2012). What is Phonemic Awareness? Retrieved from

Busy Teacher's Cafe. (n.d.). Improving Fluency in Young Readers. Retrieved from

Canizares, S. (2014). Phonemic Awareness. Retrieved from

Center for RTI. (2014). The Essential Components of RTI. Retrieved from http://www.rti4success.org/

Chard, D. (n.d.). Differentiating Instruction for Students with Special Needs. Retrieved from

Colorado Department of Education - CDE. (2012). Fourth Grade: Reading, Writing and Communicating Standards.
Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/coreadingwriting/statestandards

Colorado Department of Education - CDE. (2012). Fifth Grade: Reading, Writing and Communicating Standards.
Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/coreadingwriting/statestandards

Colorado Department of Education - CDE. (2012). Vertical Progressions. Retrieved from

Cooper, J., Kiger, N., Robinson, M., & Slansky, J. (2012). Literacy: Helping Students Construct Meaning, Eighth Ed.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

Croak, A. (2012). Upper Elementary/Middle School Reading Freebies. Retrieved from

Diamond, M. (2011). Differentiating Instruction. Retrieved from

Education Northwest. (n.d.). Trait Definitions. Retrieved from

Education Northwest. (2010). 6+1 Traits Rubrics. Retrieved from http://educationnorthwest.org/traits/traits-rubrics

English Club. (2014). What is Writing? Retrieved from http://www.englishclub.com/writing/what.htm

Glastonbury Public Schools. (2009). K-5 Essential Components of Balanced Literacy. Retrieved from

Glen Ellen School District (n.d.). Literacy Blocks Schedule: Fourth Grade. Retrieved from

Trait: Ideas – interesting and important
Book: The Legend of Old Abe: A Civil War Eagle
By Kathy-jo Wargin

Why: The main message of this interesting story is based on factual information about soldiers adopting mascots during wartime. Abe is an unlikely mascot who, based on supporting details and facts grows in fame and notoriety. This is not a typical story, which the reader would be familiar. It can be used with students as a mentor text, encouraging the development of a story line using interesting facts or ideas that the reader might not necessarily expect (Education Northwest, n.d.).
Trait: Organization – logical and effective
Book: Jingle Bells, Homework Smells
By Diane de Groat

Why: This is a fun story, which has a message - don’t procrastinate. A story needs to have flow and a sense of direction. The piece should be logical and create connections both to the rest of the story and if possible to the reader as well. The author should bring about a sense of closure while giving the reader something to think about (Education Northwest, n.d.). This book demonstrates just that. The common thread, such as the one in this story, failure to do your homework leads to problems, serves as an example for students in how to carry a story line throughout the text using details which support the main idea. Just as the reader is left to question their own actions in terms of procrastination in this story, students can be instructed to write in a manner, which encourages the reader to ponder various questions and subject matter.

Trait: Voice – individual and appropriate
Book: The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!
By Jon Scieszka

Why: This is an excellent choice of text for demonstrating to students the roll that voice can play in their writing. The author takes on the roll of the big bad wolf and tells the story of the three little pigs from his perspective. He does a wonderful job at really conveying the sense that he is speaking/writing directly to the reader. As Education Northwest (n.d.) states, voice is the “heart and soul of writing.” The author makes the story his own and conveys that to the reader, modeling well the purpose of voice.
Trait: Word Choice – specific and memorable
Book: Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
By Dr. Seuss

Why: Word choice is about using vocabulary to enlighten and move the reader (Education Northwest, n.d.). Dr. Seuss is not only a master at using conventional vocabulary, but using his own made up words that enable the reader to really get a sense of the message through playful writing. Through the use of this book, students can learn to appreciate the importance of word choice whether real or made up to convey a message.

Trait: Sentence Fluency – smooth and musical
Book: The Bugliest Bug
By Carol Diggory Shields

Why: Sentence fluency is about rhythm and flow (Education Northwest, n.d.) and this story certainly has that. Whether or not a story rhymes or not, it needs to be easy and pleasing to read. This story rhymes and enables the reader to focus on the actual story rather than the words or sentences. Students can gain an appreciation of how sentences are created and blended together in order to form a story, which naturally flows together.

Trait: Conventions – correct and communicative
Book: Footloose the Mongoose & The Jumping Flea
By Elaine Masters

Why: Conventions are an important piece of any writing. Picture books, which are geared towards children, should be written with a sense of care. Authors convey their message or story in a relatively brief period of time and thus need to be particularly mindful of each component (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar/usage and paragraphing) of the story as not to detract from it’s message (Education Northwest, n.d.). The story of Footloose can be used to demonstrate each of these elements and how they enhance the story.

Trait: Presentation – inviting and attractive
Book: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
By Karen Beaumont

Why: This story is written in a rhythmic fashion and from the perspective of a young boy. Presentation concerns both visual and textual elements according to Education Northwest (n.d.) and this book makes use of both. Visually, lots of color is used to give the impression of how great an extent the boy overuses and makes a mess with his paint. In addition, white space is used very effectively, almost framing the words. As far as text is concerned, the reader feels as though a young boy is actually writing the story. The font used mimics that of a child’s writing and in some cases is in different colors as well. Through the use of this text, students can learn how different visual strategies can enhance a story.

So, where does this all lead? A daily comprehensive and balanced literacy plan that incorporates each of the six major literacy blocks as proposed by Cooper et al., (2012)

Daily Independent Reading
Daily Independent Writing
Reading: Learning skills and strategies
Reading: Application of skills and strategies
Writing: Learning to write
Writing: Developmentally appropriate writing

And looks something like this
Instruction - Cont.
One of the most effective ways to teach writing is through the 6+1 Traits Writing Model of Instruction & Assessment developed by Education Northwest (2010). This framework defines the key qualities that exemplify quality writing. These are:

Ideas—the main message
Organization—the internal structure of the piece
Voice—the personal tone and flavor of the author's message
Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning
Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the language
Conventions—the mechanical correctness
Presentation—how the writing actually looks on the page

Using model texts are an effective way to teach the 6+1 Traits. Examples for each trait follow...
As the 6+1 Traits is a model for both instruction and assessment, it follows that assessment is accomplished through a number of rubrics which have been developed by Education Northwest. The following can be used with any grade or ability level to evaluate student work. Expectations adjust with increasing ability.

Closing Remarks
Balance is crucial in so many aspects of life. Literacy is no exception. In order to effectively communicate and function in our society, reading and writing well are necessities and fundamental to a person’s well-being. A comprehensive and balanced literacy plan can help us accomplish this worthy goal.

It is our role and obligation as teachers to foster literacy development in all of our students. Being literate gives people the power to make choices that have a direct affect on their everyday lives. Students must be put in a position where they can take advantage of all that society and life have to offer. Reading and writing are at the foundation of our students’ success and will allow for them to make their own choices and hopefully be successful.


K-2 Goal: Help students learn to read and write, and to develop a love of reading.

3-5 Goal: Help students "learn to read and read to learn, learn to write and write to learn and continue to develop a lifelong love of reading as well as lifelong skills in clear and effective written expression." (Glastonbury Public Schools, 2009).

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