Balanced Literacy in an Urban School District
Frey, Bruce B.
Lee, Steven W.
Massengill Shaw, Donita
Taylor and Francis
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
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Balanced literacy is a philosophical orientation that assumes that reading and writing achievement are developed through instruction and support in multiple environments using various approaches that differ by level of teacher support and child control. This study describes one urban school district’s real-world attempt to create a balance between reading and writing, between teacher-directed and student-centered activities, and between skillsbased and meaning based approaches to literacy instruction. A triangulation strategy using multiple methods of data collection, including classroom observations, inventories of the physical environment of classrooms and school buildings, teacher surveys, and student interviews, was used to measure balanced literacy components. Results suggest that teacherdirected instruction, a fundamental aspect of balanced literacy, was implemented less often than either independent reading or writing activities. Teachers appeared to be allocating instructional time as directed by district administrators, and they were implementing components of a balanced literacy program. Additionally, most school buildings had a physical environment supportive of balanced literacy. However, the amount of time devoted to instruction and modeling effective reading and writing strategies seemed too limited for a group of students with poorly developed reading and writing skills.
This is the authors' accepted manuscript, post peer-review. The publisher's official version is available electronically from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3200/JOER.98.5.272-280.
Frey, B., Lee, S., Tollefson, N., Pass, L., and Massengill, D. (2005) Balanced Literacy in an Urban School District. Journal of Educational Research, 98 (5), 272-280.
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