Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Study Groups are school-based professional learning communities. Study groups develop a goal to guide their learning throughout the school year, and meet monthly to discuss instruction and push their practice to reach their goal. Learn more about Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy’s study group and what they learned about the components of a balanced literacy program.
School: Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy
Text: This Is Balanced Literary, Grades K-6 by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Nancy Akhavan
Study Group Leader: Laura Miner
Study Group Members: America Cannon, Allie Parker, Meghan Walsh
Goal: Initially, our goal was to implement at least one new balanced literacy strategy at least once a week in lesson plans. However, we quickly realized that we could move above and beyond this goal. Therefore, we shifted our goal to students will increase more than a year in Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (F&P) and increase their ability to show their understanding of instructional-level texts through writing.
One positive about this professional text was that the text was broken down into chapters that included components of a balanced literacy program, and each chapter was further broken down to help uncover and understand the purpose of and strategies for each section of balanced literacy. The components of balanced literacy that the authors chose include the balance of skills and knowledge in phonics with meaning-making, the balance of reading and writing with small and whole group instruction, and the balance of direct instruction with dialogic instruction.
Over the course of the year, we each tried new-to-us literacy practices that were aimed at increasing engagement and writing autonomy. Another helpful component of the text was how it balanced whole-group instruction, small-group instruction, and conferences.