"After years of conflict between whole language and phonics advocates, a consensus about what works is emerging from the research: What is needed is a balanced approach to reading instruction - an approach that combines the language and literature-rich activities associated with whole language activities aimed at enhancing meaning, understanding, and the love of language with explicit teaching skills as needed to develop fluency associated with proficient readers."
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).
Balanced literacy is a framework designed to help all students learn to read and write effectively.
The idea is firmly based on the premise that all students can learn to read and write. In order to achieve this balance between reading and writing, a number of components must be implemented. The seven major components of a balanced literacy program are: (1) read alouds, (2) shared reading, (3) wordy study, (4) guided reading, (5) independent reading, (6) shared writing, and (7) assessment/conferences.
To help foster a love for reading and expose students to texts that they might not become familiar with ordinarily, balanced literacy includes an important read-aloud component. Teachers read to students, normally in a full class format, from texts that they would not be able to read on their own. Teachers verbally interact with students before, during, and after reading to help them understand and make a variety of connections with the read-aloud selection.