Gary Rann
Discussion Leader

Chapter 6 Instructional Routines for a Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Program: An Overview

Pages 188-214
Basic Instructional Routines for the Assessment-Based Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Program
1. Explicit Phonics/Structural Elements Routine
2. Decodable Words Routine
3. Phonetically Unpredictable Words Routine
4. Fluency Routine
5. Explicit Comprehension Routine
6. Modes of Reading Routine
7. Discussion Groups Routine
8. Modes of Writing Routine
Selecting Instructional Routines to Meet Diverse Needs
Materials for Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Instruction

1. Explicit Phonics/Structural Elements
Each of the 5 steps should be incorporated within every lesson.
(Awareness, Segmentation, Association, Reading, and Spelling)
Use ongoing assessment data to identify students who need instruction in a particular phonics or structural element or elements.
1. Awareness- "Today  you will learn to use the sound for the letter__ at the beginnings of words to help you read and spell.""Listen to this word_____ (pronounce_____slowly, each sound slightly exaggerated).""What is the first sound you hear?" If students respond correctly, move on to the next step. If they do not respond  corretly, do further work in phonemic awareness.
2. Segmentation-
3. Association-

2. Decodable Words Routine

Used to teach high frequency words and any other words that are completely decodable ("at", "it", "prefer") as soon as students have learned the decoding elements involved in the word.

Review the sounds

Sound and blend

Read  the word

3. Phonetically Unpredictable Words Routine

Students will often encounter phonetically unpredictable words for which they do not have the necessary decoding knowledge. This routine teaches the necessary vocabulary needed before reading a selection.

Read the word

Match the word

Write the word

4. Fluency Routine

Children develop fluency (the ability to read quickly and accurately) by having many planned opportunities to read and reread material that is familiar and easy. Emergent and beginning readers should have daily opportunities to develop fluency.

5. Explicit comprehension Routine

The teacher models a comprehension strategy at each of three levels: concept, listening, and reading.

Concept-begin by developing the concept of inferencing. Use concrete materials and examples. Discuss with students how they arrived at their answer. Tell students that the process is called inferencing.

Listening-Read aloud a short paragraph that require students to infer. Recall the purpose for listening to this passage. Discuss students' responses. If they have difficulty with this process, provide more models using a think-aloud and repeat the process using several different examples.

Reading-Select a piece of text students have read that requires inferencing. Model the use of inferencing with a think-aloud.

Identify students who need explicit instruction in a comprehension strategy.

Use the minilesson framework to teach the strategy

Provide repeated practice and application through reading until students are comfortable using the strategy.

6. Modes of Reading Routine "gradual release of responsibility"-Pearson 1985

Helps teachers provide appropriate scaffolding of instruction as students read texts. Each mode provides a different level of instructional support. There are five modes of reading:

Teacher Read-Aloud (Least Independent, Most Instructional Support)

Shared Reading

Guided Reading(observational and interactive)


Independent Reading(Least Instructional Support, Most Independent)

7. Discussion Groups Routine

Provide student time to talk about what they have read. Initially discussion groups are prompted by teacher, who participates and observes as students discuss. As student become more proficient in discussion, they decide for themselves what to discuss, and the teachers prompts are not needed.

Students should always have some time to discuss what they have read. This is an important part of developing students' ability to comprehend.

8. Modes of Writing Routine "gradual release of responsibility"-Pearson 1985

Just as there are different modes of reading, there are different modes of writing:

Write-aloud(Most Instructional Support, Least Independent)- teacher writes something and thinks aloud for students to model thinking that occurs during the writing process.

Shared Writing- students and teacher write a piece together. Teacher models how to write in a particular domain of writing (e.g., persuasion or simple description).

Guided Writing- work on their individual pieces of writing and the teacher models, coaches, and prompts the students, serving as editor as well

Cooperative/Collaborative Writing- motivating for students who dislike writing. Two students work as partners on developing a missing product. They take turns writing things down and contributing to the overall project. The teacher models, coaches, and supports the students as needed.

Independent Writing(Most Independent, Least Instructional Support)- used when studnts are ready to write on their own, using all the processes, strategies, and skills they have learned.

Selecting Instructional Routines to Meet Diverse Needs

Instructional routines are selected based on:

The strengths and needs of his students through continual assessments determining what students do well in literacy and where they need to grow and improve their literacy development.

Each students' stage of literacy development,

Students' level of English proficiency for ELL.

Difficulty of text in relation to students' achievement levels.

How students had learned with previously used instructional routines. This information helps decide what to do next.

Students' interests to help select books to use with the instruction routines.

Materials for Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Instruction

Types of text to use (Authentic Literature and Decodable Text),

How to decide their degree of difficulty(place them in order of their difficulty-"gradient of difficulty"-Clay,1991,

How to organize material needed to operate a Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Program(organize all of the sets of books within a central location in a school to help facilitate the creation of a schoolwide Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Program that is assessment based).

My Opinion of the Chapter

With the knowledge I gained from this chapter I’ll be able to recognize the extent of my school’s effort towards literacy. Structured routines provided here, are very useful when in need of a research-based plan to utilize in the classroom or school. I wonder about the factor of “buy-in” amongst the staff who is expected to use the program.

Reflection Question

Implementing a Comprehensive Balanced Literacy Program requires a huge amount of commitment, proper resources/training, and buy-in from all professionals involved.  I wonder, how many have attempted to implement schools within Prince George's County one and was not able to due to the lack of the above mentioned? Will teachers with years of experience, feel hindered by such organized routines?

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