How Do You Schedule a Literacy Block (and other FAQs)

How do you schedule a literacy block? It’s the key question to planning effective reading instruction. We all know there’s not enough time in the day to teach every strand of reading skills each day. The solution is streamlining the balanced literacy block (here are a few literacy block schedules to help).

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about scheduling literacy block.

Plus, we’re sharing sample literacy block schedules (see below)!

We invite you to browse the literacy block ideas in the FAQs, and then take a moment to add to the discussion in the comment.

FAQ About Literacy Block:

FAQs on Literacy Block in the Balanced Reading Classroom
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How do you schedule a literacy block?

1. Make time for spiral review
2. Plan for Ready Alouds / shared reading
3. Whole Group Mini-Lesson
4. Small Group Instruction

What does a literacy block include?

It’s a balance of language and literacy skills: foundational reading skills, engaging with complex texts, learning comprehension/thinking strategies, and writing.

How do you set up a literacy block in the classroom?

Usually, when this question is asked, we’re really asking about differentiated practice time. That’s an important part of the overall literacy block, and it can include:
A. Arranging student desks in groups of four to six.
B. Set up a classroom library.
C. Designate a reading area for silent reading.
D. Set up a writing center with writing tools, computers, and resources.
E. Create a research center, which could also be in the class library or writing center.
F. Setup a listening center. For many students, literacy requires building background knowledge and listening comprehension skills.

What are the 4 components of a balanced literacy lesson?

There are many components of a balanced literacy lesson (or reading workshop), but some programs summarize them into four. They are the connection, the teach (demonstration), the active engagement, and the link. (Source: Massachusetts Dept of Education)

Why is a literacy block important?

It creates a structure in the reading classroom, so the most important skills, strategies, and activities can be practiced within a daily routine. A literacy block should provide a balanced program of literacy instruction including a variety of teaching/learning approaches to support reading and writing. (Source: Research Gate, 2021)

What are the Daily 5 literacy components?

1. Read to Self
2. Work on Writing
3. Read to Someone
4. Listen to Reading
5. Word Work

Two More Things

  1. Don’t forget to grab the free literacy block sample schedules below!
  2. If you have an idea to share or we missed a question that you have about literacy blocks, drop it in the comments below.


Leave a Comment or Question

  • Last year I used Spiral Warmups in one of our small groups. It great being able to support students in the smaller setting, but this year I’m going to double up the groups. Instead, of teaching one small group, I will combine two small groups, and we’ll work on the warm-ups.

  • I’m looking for ideas on how to group students in small group for reading. Just use their reading levels? Or do you group them by what skills I plan to teach? What works best in your classroom?

  • I’m in 4th grade, and we use Daily 5. But I changed listen to reading, to “Practice Comprehension”. For this we use test prep task cards. You can have the best class in the world, but if you don’t prepare them for the game, they won’t score well. Plus, the students love the task cards!
    1. Read to Self
    2. Work on Writing
    3. Read to Someone
    4. Practice Comprehension
    5. Word Work

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