The Kirkwood School District (KSD) philosophy of Balanced Literacy is comprised of K-2 Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, K-2 Shared Reading, K-5 Language and Word Study, K-5 Reading Workshop, K-5 Writing Workshop and K-5 Read Aloud. We know these daily experiences in literacy build a foundation for later fluency and comprehension. The addition of Shared Writing, Interactive Writing and Handwriting complete the framework for literacy development in the KSD.
• Readers need long stretches of time to read.
• Readers need direct, explicit instruction in the skills and strategies of proficient reading.
• The use of mentor texts supports our students in developing their effective writing.
• Readers need teachers to read aloud to student to model and develop their metacognitive skills.
• Readers need opportunities to talk and sometimes to write in response to texts and to engage in collaborative learning, conferring, and structured conversations.
• Readers need opportunities to choose high interest, accessible books and to read increasingly complex texts appropriate for their grade level.
• Readers need assessment-based instruction, including feedback that is tailored specifically to them. Assessment should drive instruction, providing focus for mini lessons and targeted/skill group instruction.
We are constantly gathering data to determine if students are gaining the skill sets described above. We do this through informal classroom observations, formal classroom assessments, and benchmark assessments that give us norm referenced
data performance of all students at that grade level nationally. This allows us to determine the best ways to shift instruction, layer instruction, and/or supplement tools for learning.
For more information about the foundation of literacy instruction please contact a literacy specialist in your building. We are always happy to speak to you about your child’s progress and path to literacy success.