A literacy block is a period of time in the school day dedicated to teaching and learning literacy skills, such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. (Here are sample schedules for a 120-minute literacy block)
Some key findings of the science of reading are that reading is not a natural skill but a learned one, that phonics is essential for learning to read, that fluency and comprehension depend on word recognition and language skills, and that reading instruction should be evidence-based and tailored to individual needs.
A literacy block is important because it provides students with opportunities to practice and apply their literacy skills in meaningful contexts, such as reading texts, writing stories, or engaging in discussions.
There are different models and frameworks for implementing a literacy block, but some common elements include mini-lessons, small groups, shared reading, practice and feedback. Get ideas by looking at these sample schedules for the literacy block.
The science of reading can help you understand how your students learn to read and what they need to become proficient readers.
Assess your students’ phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Provide explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction in these skills (Here’s an example of systematic and sequential instruction). Use evidence-based practices and materials that are aligned with the science of reading.
Some options for organizing independent or small group work are:
1.) Centers or stations that offer different activities related to the skill or strategy.
2.) Reading workshop or writing workshop that allows students to choose their own texts or topics and work at their own pace.
3.) Literature circles or book clubs that encourage students to discuss texts with their peers.
4.) Project-based learning or inquiry-based learning that involves students in authentic tasks and investigations.
Some misconceptions about the science of reading are that it is a one-size-fits-all approach, that it ignores the role of meaning and motivation in reading, that it is incompatible with other approaches such as balanced literacy or whole language, and that it is too rigid or prescriptive. For example, the science of reading is not a program, intervention, or product you can buy (Source: National Center on Improving Literacy).
Some challenges of implementing a literacy block include finding enough time, resources, and support, as well as differentiating instruction for diverse learners, and meeting curriculum standards.
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