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How to Teach Balanced Reading and Writing

How to Teach Balanced Reading and Writing

Second Edition
Edited by:

May 2006 | 288 pages | Corwin
'Any teacher can use this book regardless of the reading program a district may be using. It brings the various practices of reading and writing and pulls them together in a practical and useful way' - Betty Ann Collinge, Kindergarten/First Grade Teacher, Green Acres Elementary School, North Haven, CT

'This book's major strengths include straightforward writing, clear discussion of topics, excellent graphic samples, strong attention to a balanced perspective and practical ideas' - Jennifer Trujillo, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education, Fort Lewis College

'The book is easy to follow and very accessible. It is not too esoteric or philosophical, yet includes important theory and knowledge about learning. The suggestions are excellent, relevant, and inclusive' - Karen Heath, Literacy Coordinator, Barre Schools, VT

Reading is a complex process, and in today's increasingly diverse classrooms, each student has unique learning needs. In the face of these challenges, how can teachers ensure that all students develop essential literacy skills?

How to Teach Balanced Reading and Writing provides practical, research-based strategies for all aspects of literacy education. Presenting best practices in an easy-to-use format, literacy expert Bonnie Burns supplies guidance for providing direct instruction in phonics, using authentic texts, building word recognition, strengthening comprehension, and implementing writing across the curriculum. Aligned with the National Reading Panel Report (2000) and Reading First legislation, this book offers strategies to use with students at all developmental levels.

This second edition has been extensively revised to include ·

o A discussion of language acquisition

o Strategies for assessing phonemic awareness

o Techniques for developing fluency

o Increased attention to the needs of diverse learners

o Additional instructional activities in every chapter

Because of its flexibility, this book is suitable for both novice and experienced teachers. Its friendly, accessible format also makes it an ideal text for new teachers and students in education courses.

Publisher's Acknowledgments
About the Author
1. Balanced Reading and Writing
The Reading Wars

Combined Approaches

Whole-Part-Whole Model of Instruction

Continuing to Define Balanced Instruction

Integrating the Language Arts

Levels of Support and Intensity of Instruction

Balancing Student- and Teacher-Centered Instruction

2. Getting Ready to Read
Concept of Reading

Language Acquisition

Sociocultural and Other Factors That Affect Reading

Emergent Literacy

Letter and Word Recognition

Comprehension and Beginning Readers

Choosing Texts for Beginning Readers

Emergent Writing

Success in First Grade Is Critical

3. Developing Phonemic Awareness
Developing Phonemic Awareness

The Alphabetic Principle

Phonological Awareness and Alphabet Knowledge

Phonemic Awareness Skills

When Should Phonemic Awareness Be Taught?

Balancing Phonemic Awareness

Initial Activities for Learning Phonological Awareness

Phonemic Awareness Activities

At-Risk Readers

Resources for Phonemic Awareness

4. Teaching Word Recognition
The Debate About Phonics

How Does Word Recognition Develop?

Word Recognition in a Balanced Reading Program

Approaches to Teaching Phonics

Activities to Teach Word Recognition

Phonics and Older Students Who Struggle With Reading

Assessing Sound-Symbol Relationships

5. Fluency
Fluency Is Linked to Comprehension

Assessing Fluency

Factors Affecting Fluency

Individual Methods for Improving Fluency

Whole-Class Methods for Improving Fluency

Reading Rates

Other Fluency Issues

Thinking About Rate for Older Students

6. Guided Reading
What Is Guided Reading?

Leveled Groups

Planning and Logistical Management


Teaching Comprehension During Guided Reading



7. Grouping for Reading and Choosing Books
Reading Groups

Whole-Group Instruction

Small-Group Instruction

Independent Reading

Responding to Literature

Children Need to Read Extensively

Choosing Books

The Advantage of Great Literature

8. Instruction for Comprehension
Capable and Less-Capable Readers

An Instructional Model for Teaching Comprehension

Factors Affecting Comprehension

Comprehension Strategies

Comprehension Activities for Before Reading

Comprehension Skills and Strategies During Reading

Comprehension Strategies for After Reading

Strategies for Higher Level Thinking: Inferring, Generalizing, Evaluating

Putting It All Together

Influencing the Attitude and Motivation of Readers

9. Vocabulary Instruction
Vocabulary Development

Depth of Word Knowledge

Is It Worthwhile to Teach Vocabulary?

Indirect Teaching of Vocabulary

Choosing Words for Direct Teaching

Prereading Activities for Teaching Vocabulary Directly

Extension Activities for Directly Teaching Vocabulary

Teaching Students Strategies for Learning New Words

Reviewing Vocabulary With a Magic Square

Assessing Vocabulary

10. Teaching and Learning Spelling
Stages of Spelling Development

Characteristics of Good and Poor Spellers

Spelling Should Be Taught Developmentally

Activities to Encourage or Teach Spelling

Techniques for Transitional Spellers

Spelling Rules

What About Spelling Tests?

11. Balanced Writing
Elements of the Writing Process

Developmental Stages of Writing

Balanced Writing Instruction

Writers’ Workshop

Structured Writing

Audiences and Genres

Writing in Response to Reading

Looking Back at Objectives and Balanced Writing

12. Reading and Writing in the Content Areas
The Differences Between a Textbook and a Novel

Trade Books and Text Sets

Removing Obstacles to Comprehension With Prereading Activities

Removing the Obstacles of Concept Vocabulary

Guiding Comprehension During the Reading Process

Responding to Texts After Reading

Standard Techniques That Do Not Work Well

13. Assessment
Determining Reading Level With an Informal Reading Inventory

Diagnostic Assessment

Informal Classroom Assessment

Standardized Assessment

Assessing Assessment


"The idea of balance in literacy is critical. This book models the fact that good teachers need to draw from a variety of approaches to achieve balance. Its major strengths include straightforward writing, clear discussion of topics, excellent graphic samples, strong attention to a balanced perspective and practical ideas."

Jennifer Trujillo, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education
Fort Lewis College

"One of the strongest aspects of this book is that any teacher can use it regardless of the reading program a district may be using. It brings the various practices of reading and writing and pulls them together in a practical and useful way that any teacher can incorporate into a reading/writing program."

Betty Ann Collinge, Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher
Green Acres Elementary School, North Haven, CT

"The book is easy to follow, very accessible - not too esoteric or philosophical, but includes important theory and knowledge about learning - and the messages are right on. As a discerning language arts specialist, I can honestly say that the positions and suggestions are excellent, relevant, and inclusive."

Karen Heath, Literacy Coordinator
Barre Schools, VT

"This volume offers practical examples and will be especially appreciated by novice teachers."

Curriculum Connections, Spring 2007
School Library Journal

Voted by Faculty

Mrs Tonya Nwaneri
College Of Education, Austin Peay State University
May 8, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Bonnie L. Burns

Bonnie Burns, Ed.D. is director of the Reading Specialist Program at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She works with both undergraduates and graduate students who are studying to be reading specialists. She has authored or coauthored several books, articles, and an online column. Her current interests are establishing school district-university partnerships and reading clinics. She has served for 30 years as an elementary teacher, reading specialist, and principal in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona, working with a wide variety of students. Bonnie was a trainer for the Illinois state assessment in writing and the New York... More About Author

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