Balanced Literacy ♥ Pink Digraph Freebie

Okay, so I'm old school.  I remember whole language, direct instruction, and phonics-based literacy instruction... all of them.  I've used all of them independently of one another before the powers that be realized that could work in unison!  I learned about whole language while earning my bachelors degree at the amazing Texas Woman's University and then I got into the classroom and was forced to use a scripted phonics program.  I felt my love for teaching disappear with every line of that script.  We actually were required to say, "get ready" before the kiddos sounded out a word.  Ugh... I was not good at teaching that program and the teaching police were not afraid to tell me about it.

My third year in the kindergarten classroom we switched to Open Court.  I fell in love with teaching literacy all over again.  I saw the fun in reading, the joy in picture books, and the profound excitement in the faces of munchkins when they were able to decode all by themselves.  Joy!

I realize these are just "canned" programs and that teaching is WAY more than prepackaged materials, especially in these days of high expectations, federal mandates, and state standards that must be met.  Kindergarten is no longer just learning your ABC's like when I was a munchkin.   However, when you take the best pieces of all of these kits and use them in the classroom you are able to increase student success, increase academic rigor, and use the strategies from each piece to meet the individual & multiple intelligences within the classroom.  It becomes a lot easier to put down the big ole heavy teacher editions when you know what's inside the box & how to use it to fit your munchkins abilities.

[Enter] Balanced Literacy ♥

Did you hear the angels sing?  Every time I walk into Hobby Lobby I hear angels sing... it's the mecca of crafty happiness just like Balanced Literacy is the Eden of reading instruction for me.  Silly, I know... but, meh.  :)

Just like there are 5 key components to reading success (phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency, & vocabulary), there are 5 main components to Balanced Literacy:
  1. Reading Aloud
  2. Shared Reading
  3. Independent Reading
  4. Word Study 
There is just something magical about the number 5.  These components go perfectly with the Daily 5 by The Sisters.  It's no wonder the D5 has become so popular and widely used by teachers across the country.

I've been working on a CAFE set (not endorsed by The Sisters in any way.... my tiny disclaimer) that is aligned to the 1st Grade TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) since we are one of only a few states who have not adopted the new Common Core Standards, I wanted to make it specific to our little neck o' the country.  Here's a preview, but they are not complete so I have not uploaded them.  The clipart is of course, the gorgeous DJ Inkers of Happiness. 

Pink is making me so happy... y'all should see my classroom!  :)

With these factors in mind, I want to beef up the resources available to munchkins in the classroom.  The things I've made & put in previous posts will be perfect if I use them well and teach the kiddos how to make the most of them, but I've got a lot of work yet to do. 

clicky here! :)
One of my biggest challenges walking into the 2012-2013 school year is trying to work out classroom space... space for books, space for manipulatives, space for individual book boxes, space for reading nooks, space for centers, space for textbooks (OMG.. textbooks! This will be a first for me.), and the list goes on...

I also need space for pink stuff. I'm having a great time pinkin' it up!!  With that in mind, I've reworked my Digraph Dots after doing some more research & trying to learn about 1st Grade expectations.  So, they're here if you'd like a set. Beware:  they are outlined in PINK!  You should see the pink paper I put up on my wall yesterday.  It is so dreamy!  And where do you all find space for everything?  I have no idea where I'm going to squeeze all the stuff I have into one bookshelf & one rolling bookshelfie type center holder thingie bobber.... I'm at a loss, but I'm loving it all the same. 

I blabbed a lot on this one... so sowwy.  

Squirrel!  :)

Great Resources Online:
Instructional Strategies Online
K12 Reader:  Reading Instruction Resources for Teachers & Parents
Strickland, D.  (n. d.).  Balanced Literacy. Instructor.  Retrieved from

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