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Literacy Plan for Kindergarten

A Balanced Approach
Cathy Boerner, December 6, 2010

Cover Page/ Literacy Plan By Cathy Boerner

I am so thrilled to be considered for the K-5 position. I would like to begin by sharing with you my philosophy and beliefs about literacy learning. As I do this I will be relating my philosophy statements to the specific theorists who have helped form my beliefs about literacy learning. Next, I will provide you with the range of reading and writing behaviors I expect to observe in my kindergarten classroom. I will describe my role as a teacher in developing an effective and balanced literacy environment that addresses the diverse needs of my students. I will demonstrate my abilities by providing detailed descriptions of my assessment strategies, literacy skills and strategies, and a detailed plan for my literacy instruction. Lastly, I will provide for you a classroom design that supports my philosophy and instructional plan. I believe my primary role as a teacher is to instill in my children a desire to read and write. Children need to enjoy reading and writing in order to do both of these things well. In order for children to literacy, there are a number of conditions that must be met by myself as the teacher, the child as student, and the environment. Children enjoy themselves when their independent needs are met. Children most importantly need to be nurtured and supported physically, emotionally and intellectually. This philosophy is based upon the teachings of Brian Cambourne, Don Holdaway, and their predecessor,

Lev Vygotsky: all sociolinguists and researchers of child literacy. I will describe each of the theories these prominent people have taught me, starting first with Brian Cambournes Conditions of Learning, inspired in part by the teachings of Don Holdaway (Cambourne, 1995). Cambourne defines Conditions as particular states of being (doing, behaving, creating), as well as a set of indispensable circumstances that co-occur and are synergistic in the sense that they both affect and are affected by each other. (Cambourne, 1995) In other words, language is learned when these conditions work together. Cambourne contends that without the availability of even one condition, a childs literacy development is at risk. (Cambourne, 1995) In order to thrive as students, children need to see what is expected of them through constant modeling and guidance. This describes Demonstration, which is one of the first conditions provided by Cambournes literacy theory. It is my role as a teacher to provide my students with thorough and carefully thought out instruction and demonstration. Students need to observe what looks and sounds like literacy. This doesnt just mean watching and hearing me read and write but being able to observe my thought processes as well. This means thinking aloud as I read and write. Children need to see me interacting with the text, which means as I read and write, Im talking about what my thoughts are: Does this look right? I wonder what happens next. I think I need to capitalize this. These are all examples of interacting with text. Meanwhile, children are observing and learning comprehension strategies that they will be able to use on their own. I will go into this more when I discuss Don Holdaways condition of Demonstration.

The biggest thing that will change in a childs life when they enter kindergarten is they will from now on consider themselves students, spending most of their time in an environment that ideally operates for the sole purpose of encouraging them to independently explore and discover literacy. This is referred to as Cambournes Immersion. Children need to constantly be able to interact with the different forms of text around them within their environment. (Cambourne, 1995) Examples of immersion of print are high quality childrens books, charts, labels, newspaper, magazines, read alouds, sing alongs, playword games, literacy centers, and a classroom library. In addition to an environment saturated by literacy, my role as their teacher is to be well equipped to provide students with strategies to build independence. This is so students can learn Responsibility, another of Cambournes conditions. Learners need to be able to make decisions regarding what they learn, and how they learn. As long as Demonstration is always in a context that supports the meanings being transacted [and] always serves a relevant purpose learners need to have a choice in what learning they will engage in next. (Cambourne, 1995) What this looks like in a classroom is children will be able to choose books, be provided easy access to books and materials and be in an environment that promotes self-direction. While it is important for students to feel responsible for their learning, it is just as important that students feel it is expected of them to be able to learn and to be capable of doing what is at task. While students need to be challenged, they need me to feel like I believe in them. This relates to Cambournes Expectations, in which it is the role of the teacher to send clear messages to her students that she believes all of them are able to succeed. (Cambourne, 1995) Children need to know that I am never

giving them something to learn that I believe is too difficult for them to grasp. For my expectations to be just right, I need to be familiar with the developmental stages of literacy and know that each child will be accomplished in their own time. It is not only important to provide my students with expectations; it is also necessary for me to frequently give sincere and authentic feedback. (Cambourne, 1995) This is what is referred to as Response. A teachers response must be relevant to the childs accomplishment, appropriate, timely, and supportive. As important as it is for children to have guidance and support as they learn to read and write, it is just as critical that they have plenty of time to practice their developing skills on their own. This is referred to as Employment. (Cambourne, 1995) Children need to be able to interact with text in their own way, giving them time to perform as readers and writers, using the strategies given previously by the teacher. As they practice, they will naturally be self-reflective, trying things out and seeing what works and what doesnt. (Cambourne, 1995) This is called Approximation. Especially when children practice on their own, they will make mistakes and learn from them without anyone correcting them or judging their progress. Lastly, it is Cambournes condition of Engagement that brings all of these elements of literacy learning together. Learners need to actively participate in every step of a teachers literacy instruction. As Cambourne contends, it doesnt matter how prepared we are with our lessons, how richly decorated our classrooms are, or how great our book selections are if our children cannot adequately engage with them. (Cambourne, 1995). He provides the Principals of Engagement required for adequate engagement to occur. Ive listed these principals directly from Cambournes 1995

essay. I believe they are perfectly stated and I deeply believe they are essential principles for learners to move from instruction to independent enjoyment and participation in literacy. Learners are more likely to engage deeply with demonstrations if they believe that they are capable of ultimately learning or doing whatever is being demonstrated. Learners are more likely to engage deeply with demonstrations if they believe that learning is whatever is being demonstrated has some potential value, purpose, and use for them. Learners are more likely to engage with demonstrations if theyre free from anxiety. Learners are more likely to engage with demonstrations given by someone they like, respect, admire, trust, and would like to emulate.

In summary, a good literacy plan needs to provide balance and offer active engagement by supplying students with interesting and stimulating reading and writing materials. They need an environment that gives them room to observe and learn. My role as their literacy guide is to advocate challenges and risk taking by motivating children to try new words and sounds, and to be encouraging with my positive and sincere feedback. Ultimately, my learners will learn how to be critical thinkers with my balanced literacy plan. Don Holdaways Social/Acquisition Learning and Interactional Conditions of Learning brings even more explanation to these essential conditions of literacy learning. Much of Cambournes theory is derived from Holdaways beliefs. Holdaway believes it is necessary to understand social learning to be able to know how to support literacy learning: that both of these things go together. He maintains that language is a natural development that occurs through natural acquisition. Learning literacy is a part of being human, and the context in which its being taught needs to feel natural and authentic. (Holdaway, 2000)

Holdaways conditions read much like Cambournes but are slimmed down to four concepts. The first of these is Demonstration which just like Cambournes condition, refers to a teachers modeling of literacy. Holdaway contends that the motivation to become a skill user is engendered by such immersed demonstrations especially when the learner is strongly bonded to the significant, competent other who is using the skill. (Holdaway, 2000) It is through this bond that the learner curious and engaged with the skill. The learner begins to understand literacys function and what purpose it fulfills in the learners world. When the learner has been able to observe the teacher for some time, Holdaway believes the learner will naturally want to get in the act. (Holdaway, 2000) He refers to this as Participation which is the time when the learner begins to emulate the teacher while approximating the skill being taught. It is vital that the teacher accepts the students approximations while expecting they will become more developed with time. During a teachers instructions, it is the role of the teacher to guide the students participation while it is the role of the student to engage. This act of participating in learning is linked to Lev Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development. Through this zone the learner goes from following the teachers instruction of what isnt yet learned to being assisted by the teacher until gradually the learner has developed the ability to perform the task independently. It is when the teacher is assisting that we see scaffolding, a term coined by Vygotsky to explain the gradual decreased assistance the teacher provides as the learner develops. Scaffolding occurs during both Holdaways and Cambournes Demonstration and Participation. (Tompkins, 2010)

It is with the cooperation of the teacher that a student begins to initiate the process of learning-by-doing. (Holdaway, 2000) This process is key to becoming an independent reader and writer and therefore learners need plenty of time to practice literacy independently. This happens during Role-Playing or Practice, Holdaways third condition of natural learning. To develop any skill, learners need to be able to make mistakes and decide how to progress without a teachers observation. It is during this time that a learner imagines what it feels like to be a skill user and explores the experience in a degree of privacy. (Holdaway, 2000) The teacher can be available for questions and support, but it is important for the learner to perform without an audience. In this environment, a learner can begin to self-correct. This way, mistakes can happen and adjustments can be made without external validation. Holdaway believes there are a lot of important things that happen when a learner practices independently. They are becoming excited about their own development and learning how to hear their own voice, self-monitoring their developing skill (Holdaway, 2000). I believe this teaches children important skills that go beyond literacy such as independent thinking, selfefficacy, and personal reward. Holdaway describes this well, describing role-playing and practice as a chance for learners to Take advantage of a strategy that lifts their efficiency to new levels. To become dependent on being corrected by someone else is to remain at an inefficient level of learning and to be cheated of the opportunity for rapid independent self-improvement. (Holdaway, 2000) After learners become comfortable enough with their new development, they are ready for the last stage or condition of natural learning, referring to Holdaways Performance: Sharing Accomplished Increments of Skill. This is when students take

on the role of demonstrator, wanting to show their new improvements in skill with their teacher. Holdaway emphasizes the important role the teacher has to be supportive and encouraging at this time. It doesnt matter how small the accomplishment is, if the student is ready to demonstrate their improvements, it is considered a big achievement in the process of learning naturally. Holdaway maintains, In this way the learner enjoys a sense of belonging, an assurance of acceptance even when the skill is at a primitive level. Holdaway describes what these conditions looks like in a classroom when they are combined, The healthy literacy classroom rapidly becomes product-rich without external pressure being exerted to produce it -- story-writing, publishing, play-reading, audience reading, literacy generated research, and a host of other activities, all add to the hum of a community using literacy skills for authentic and satisfying purposes. The walls are bursting with displays of childrens output and all manner of studies are arising from reading and discussion. A healthy literacy classroom is a good place to be in. I will now be going on to summarize the range of reading and writing behaviors in a kindergarten classroom. With this it is my intention to give you an idea of what a typical kindergarten classroom looks like and how it is my role to address the diverse needs of my students. I will be explaining this process in three steps. After I describe the range of reading and writing behaviors, I will introduce the various ways I will be assessing my students through pre-assessment, formative assessment (ongoing, used to inform instruction), and summative assessment (given at pre-determined intervals). While doing so I will be explaining how each assessment addresses a childs specific literacy development. After this I will list specific examples of literacy concepts, skills and/or strategies that are appropriate to the developmental level of the students within

the classroom in both reading and writing. This will give you an idea of what I will be teaching the children based on my assessments. Lastly, I will explain in detail how the components of literacy instruction will facilitate the development of a balanced literacy approach through the literacy concepts, skills, strategies and philosophy I have stated previously. Within my discussion of instruction I will provide you with the various classroom activities you will expect to see in my classroom on any given day. Each child has had different language learning experiences prior to entering kindergarten. This means I will have varied levels of literacy development within my classroom that will each need to be accommodated and nurtured for. There is not any single method of teaching literacy that works for every child. Within a single classroom there is a variety of learning preferences among students. This is why it is important to have thorough knowledge of the various ways students learn so I know how to give each child an optimal learning experience. I value balance and diversity in instruction. This means it is important to provide lots of variety in lessons that can address core literary skills developmentally appropriate for each child based on their level of literacy development. A typical kindergarten class consists of a diverse group of children who will be entering school with varied amounts of prior literacy knowledge. Although not all children develop at the same time and rate, most children go through a similar sequence of developmental stages as they grow (Rog, 2001). Often children are introduced to written language before they begin school. They learn to read familiar bits of text and experiment with writing (Tompkins, 2010). This learning expands quickly once they enter kindergarten and learn more concepts about print.


While a typical kindergarten classroom includes children ranging in age from four to six, the developmental range of these children can be as wide as five years (three to eight years old). Within each age, there are typical behaviors that can be observed. The following behaviors have been recorded in Yardsticks (Chip Wood, 2007). At four years old, the physical behavior of a child can be observed through how they are holding their pencil (ex. with a whole fist, grasping toward the eraser end) and how much pressure they use as they write. Older four-year-olds typically write more boldly. At this age children tend to be very talkative, enjoy experimenting with language, and like to give long explanations for things (ex. they didnt just go to the zoo, they saw this animal, and it looks like this, and sounds like this, etc.) They often need help finding words to express their needs. A four-year-olds cognitive behavior can be observed by how they interact with text. They typically have short attention spans and need to explore. They love literacy activities that incorporate music, sing-alongs, rhyming and repeating patterns. Early five year olds are still awkward with writing, typically holding pencils with three-fingered, pincer-like grasps. Older five-years-olds may have a slightly varied grasp. When writing, they often tilt their head to their non-dominant side. Five-yearolds thrive when having routines they can become familiar with. They love the predictability of learning center time and writing workshop. Young five-year-olds are often literal, using and interpreting words in the most basic sense. Older five-year-olds may give more elaborate answers. They frequently make auditory reversals. You can often observe a five-year-old reading out loud even after being asked to read silently. A five-year-olds cognitive behavior can be observed through the literacy activities they


enjoy most. Like four-year-olds, they like songs and rhyming and they like to copy and repeat activities. They prefer activities that are hands-on. Five-year-olds will make many mistakes, and as they become older-five-year-olds, they often show more opposition. At this age they will begin to independently recognize some of their reading and writing mistakes. At six years old, children are improving their visual tracking of words, reading from left to right. Six-year-olds like explaining things and sharing stories (as with all ages), which helps them to develop their language skills. They are often enthusiastic about language, enjoying jokes and guessing games. Typically, six-year-olds like the process of creating more than the finished product and like to have things to work on. Within a typical kindergarten classroom, three stages of writing, spelling and reading can be observed. I will begin with the stages of writing and spelling: Prewriter/Precommunicative, Emergent (Semi-phonetic/Phonetic) and Developing/Transistional (Gentry, 2002). At the Prewriter/Precommunicative Stage, messages are conveyed in pictures and illustrations. Language revolves around pictures. As they begin to write, they will use scribbles and lines to represent words. There are no recognizable letters. Usually the writer can read his or her own scribble, but will forget it over time. At this point, they may show knowledge of directionality (left-to-right, topto-bottom). Eventually prewriters will begin to form letter-like forms of writing, often a mixture of real words and mock words. There is very little recognition of sound/symbol relationships. Just before prewriters move to the emergent stage their letters will begin


to be strung together with more real letters. Children may demonstrate some sound/symbol relationships. During the Emergent Writer Stage, children show more concepts of letter and word. They experiment with letter shapes, including some sight words (environmental print). Emergent writers may or may not have spaces between words, demonstrating some sound/symbol correspondence. They will use some vowels but consonants will dominate words. This stage is known as the semi-phonetic spelling stage. Eventually emergent writers will create sentence structures around known words and sentence beginnings. At this point they will also be paying attention to conventions such as spacing, capitalization and punctuation. With a growing awareness of their audience, children at this stage will provide clearer messages, eventually creating little stories. At this point emergent writers are writing short sentences, using both invented and conventional spelling. Their compositions are becoming more creative as they begin to redirect themselves when making mistakes. It is during the Developmental/Transitional Stage when a childs voice begins to emerge within his or her compositions. They become more concerned about correctness, making revisions of their compositions. Sentence structure becomes more varied, although spelling may still be reversed (ex. baot for boat). We can also typically observe three stages of reading within a kindergarten classroom: Emergent, Early, and Transitional (Tompkins, 2010). At the Emergent Stage, children are beginning to show interest in books. They also notice environment print around them. You will notice they will pretend to read, using pictures as cues. At this stage readers are gaining knowledge of concepts about print, developing book-


handling skills. They are learning to identify letters in the alphabet and reading some high-frequency words. Some children will already be emergent readers before they begin kindergarten. It is important for emergent readers to participate in a variety of literacy activities, which I will introduce when I begin to discuss my literacy instruction. At the Early Stage of reading, children will achieve some control of behaviors such as directionality (reading from left to right). At this stage readers will begin to learn about phoneme/grapheme correspondences (the smallest units of speech, such as /k/, /d/, /ck/). At the same time they are learning to read high-frequency words. Early readers begin to apply reading strategies, including crosschecking and predicting. They can read books with several lines of print, keeping the meaning in mind while being able to solve simple words. The Transitional Stage is when readers demonstrate behavioral control and can read texts with many lines of print. This is the most advanced stage we can expect to see in kindergarten. At this stage readers are fluent and do not need to rely heavily on pictures. Their core of high-frequency words is large and they can recognize these words quickly. My role as a teacher is to develop an effective literacy-learning environment using assessments, concepts/strategies and instruction to address the diverse stages of my students. When putting together lessons, I need to know first what I want my students to learn (the objectives) and how I will be able to observe the learning of these objectives (assessment). Once Ive recognized these two things, I am ready to think about what the activity will be and how I will demonstrate the learning (instruction).


Before I do anything, I want to assess my students prior knowledge. I do this because I need to determine the appropriate literacy levels each of my students are ready to begin with. Because students within my classroom read at a wide range of levels, I need to determine these levels so I can plan appropriate instruction. The three reading levels to take into account are Independent, Instructional and Frustration (Tompkins, 2010). When a book is too difficult for a learner to read successfully even when assisted, the book is considered to be at the Frustration Level. Students reading accuracy at this level is less than 90% and they show little understanding of what is being read. In reference to both Cambourne and Holdaways Conditions, children do not learn successfully when they are frustrated, and this level of book should not be required for students to read. At the Instructional Level, students can read and understand books with support. Their accuracy rate is 90-94%, recognizing most words they read (Tompkins, 2010). With the support of the teacher, they can comprehend what they are reading. In terms of Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development, the Instructional Level is where most of the learning is happening. At the Independent Reading Level, learners can read comfortably with 95-100% accuracy. Their reading is fluent, and they can comprehend what they are reading without assistance. Books at this level should be read for learners enjoyment but are considered too easy for instructional purposes. After I have determined students reading levels, I want to assess my students regularly to make sure expected progress is being made in both reading and writing. If I observe students who are not progressing, I want to be able to get them back on track.


There are a number of things I specifically look for when I am monitoring my students progress. Oral Language and Vocabulary Development: Function refers to the purpose for which language is intended. For instance, when Im talking to an infant, I will be using different language than when I am interviewing for a job. These differences in language are not evident to children and need to be learned (Rog, 2001). This concept can be particularly difficult for English learners (Tompkins, 2010). I can assess a students awareness of function by observing them talking in real, day-to-day classroom activities. A formal assessment tool for this is the Student Oral Language Observation Matrix (SOLOM). This test rates a students listening, fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. Content and Form Content refers to semantics, or the meaning of words. Students who understand content and form understand relationships between words and the multiple meanings a single word can have. Form refers to the conventions that determine how words go together. Sentence structure and formal grammar are examples of form. I can assess students understanding of content and form with the SOLOM test and observation of language structures and grammatical correctness. Sound Structure Students with an understanding of sound structure are able to sound out words and make predictions based on how sounds are combined to make words. I can assess for this by observing a learners articulation and whether or not they are speaking clearly and fluently.


Phonological Awareness: Similar to sound structure, phonological awareness refers to the understanding that words are made up of sounds. When assessing my students, there are a number of things I want to look for: Recognition of Rhyme and Alliteration I will be checking to see if the learner is able to focus on which elements of sound make words sound the same or different. Phoneme Blending and Syllable Splitting I will be checking to see how the learner is able to blend sounds and isolate onsets (the part of the word that comes before the vowel) and rimes (the part of the word that begins with the vowel). Phoneme Segmentation and Manipulation I will be checking to see if the learner can isolate sounds in a word, blend sounds together to make a word, and can take out beginning sounds of a word and replace them with another sound (cat becomes that). Concepts About Print: An assessment tool to determine learners concepts about print is Marie Clays CAP test. The test is administered individually and takes about ten minutes. The teacher reads a short book aloud while the child observes. Then the child is asked to open the book, turn the pages, and point out particular features of the print (Tompkins, 2010). The CAP test assesses: Letter Names and Sounds Refers to the recognition of letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Invented, or phonetic spelling is a critical practice in early writing and is how children develop letter name and sound recognition. I can assess for this by testing the learner to recognize and point to any letter on a


page, a particular letter on a page, and the same with a word, sentence or punctuation. Forms and Functions of Text Refers to the different types of writing and the reasons for the differences. Through the understanding of form and function, children can begin to understand genres, themes, plot structures, characters, and language convention. I can observe a childs understanding of form and function when they can explain familiar patterns in literature and the differences in text, such as lists, poems, fairytales, and informational text. Desire to Read and Write Children are most likely to enjoy reading and writing when they have a lot of experience and practice. If a child is learning literacy within both Cambourne and Holdaways Conditions of Learning, they are most likely to be engaged and therefore have a desire to read and write (Tompkins, 2010). I can observe a childs desire when I see they are actively participating in activities and show excitement about the learning. Much of my monitoring of my students concepts about print will be during classroom literacy activities such as shared reading and writing, which I will be introducing when I explain my instructional process. As I teach my students, I want them to determine importance, draw inferences, notice text structure and understand the purpose of text while questioning and visualizing as they read and write. To help my children develop their reading and writing skills, there are strategies based on my assessments that I will teach them to help facilitate the process. The goal of reading is comprehension. When we read, we dont just look at the words and understand them; there is a process involved in reading


(Tompkins, 2010). This process involves three cue systems that work together for reading comprehension. The three cues we rely on are: Semantic Cue System (Meaning): This refers to all the things we use to understand our reading. We are using this system when we ask ourselves, Does this make sense? We use our prior knowledge, text, and illustrations to understand semantics. Syntactic Cue System (Structure): This refers to the structural cues we rely on to understand text, such as our knowledge of English, natural language, grammatical patterns, language structures and book language. We use these cues when we ask ourselves Does this sound right? as we read and write. Graphophonic Cue System (Visual): This refers to the visual things we rely on when reading and writing. Sound and symbols, word chunks, analogies, and print conventions are examples of this. We use graphophonics to help understand whether or not what we are reading or writing looks right. Marie Clay is a noted teacher and literacy researcher who came up with a series of reading strategies for comprehension (Clay, 1995). The following are two examples of Clays reading strategies: Self-Monitoring refers to the meaning, language structure, and visual information readers use to monitor what they are reading. Readers who self-monitor are aware of when something they read doesnt make sense, sound right, or look right. Some prompts for students to engage in selfmonitoring might include, Were you right? Why did you stop? Could it be___? See if you can find what is wrong.


Self-Correction refers to independently correcting errors to construct meaning from text. Readers who self-correct dont need to externally ask how to correct their reading miscues. Some prompts for students to engage in self-correction might include, Try that again. Youre almost right. I like the way you figured that out. I teach my students reading and writing strategies throughout my instruction.

During minilessons I can teach strategies using explanations, demonstrations, and think-alouds. For students to understand what a particular strategy does, I demonstrate using step-by-step explanations. Students will be able to practice these strategies on their own during independent reading. The ultimate goal is for my students to turn these reading and writing strategies into skills they have acquired through regular practice. Next, I will describe the literacy instruction I provide in order to teach my children the necessary reading and writing concepts, strategies, and skills. Interactive Read Aloud Reading to children is a vital way to encourage the development of concepts about print, story structure, and other elements of text. (Rog, 2001) It is vital to choose developmentally appropriate books for reading aloud. The stories need to be relatable to the children and characters should be clearly defined and few in number. The plot needs to be quick-paced and sequenced. Books need to include a range of vocabulary that extends what they already know. Read aloud activities should last about ten to fifteen minutes and occur daily. The learning objective of read alouds is to teach comprehension, strategies, building


vocabulary, and modeling fluent reading. At the beginning of each read aloud I introduce the book and demonstrate reading strategies as I read. It is the teachers job to model reading. As I read I often pause and think aloud. I want to motivate an interest in reading. I read expressively and fluently. I make frequent eye contact with my students and make sure everyone can clearly see the book and hear me. I use scaffolding to help my students construct proper predictions and ideas about the story, asking questions such as I wonder what will happen next? Students will participate in the story, making predictions and questioning along the way. Afterwards we will retell the story once or more and distinguish the main idea and main characters. During read aloud time I assess through observation, recording my observations through checklists, post-it notes, etc. I may want to target a few children at a time to assess during the read aloud. Shared Reading During a shared reading lesson, students participate and observe as the teacher uses a song, poem, chart, or Big Book to demonstrate the use of reading strategies. (Rog, 2001) Like Interactive Read Alouds, Shared Reading is an interactive reading time when I read while demonstrating fluency. Students focus in on meaning level, sentence and phrase level, word level, and sound/symbol level. Shared reading activities usually last 20-30 minutes and occur daily, taught over the course of a week or two in multiple lessons. As we move through the lesson we begin first with focusing in on meaning level (semantic), moving on to structure (syntactic), word level, and finally sound/symbols (graphophonics). A lot of planning goes into shared reading lessons. I want to set clear learning objectives before each lesson. I consider the academic standards I want to focus on. Big


Books are the most common text used during shared reading. During my first reading, children should observe quietly as I read. During the second reading I encourage students to participate with me. Sometimes children will play a certain role in the story, speaking when it is their turn. Other times, they may perform actions that correlate with certain parts of the text. Each time I read I focus on a different learning objective. Just like Interactive Read Alouds, I will assess my students by keeping records of observations of individual students as they participate. Guided Reading This is when students join together into small groups that I form based on areas the students need more time to focus on. The students in each group read at approximately the same level. During this time students do the reading themselves, silently and at their own pace. It is my job to choose a book that is appropriate for each groups developmental level. The group should be able to read the book with 90-95% accuracy. First, I introduce the book, setting the purpose for the reading and asking students what they already know about a topic relating to the book. Then I will take the students on a picture walk, going over the pages, asking students to making predictions about the book based on its pictures. I will remind them of strategies they can use for reading independently (cueing systems and self-monitoring). Next, the children read the book. Meanwhile, I provide support to help students decode while reading. As they read, I observe and assess their strategies and comprehension. Afterwards, I encourage students to respond to the book, talking about what they liked about it and what they could relate to. Children are generally ready for


guided reading when they have directional control (left to right, top to bottom), understand that for every word they say there is one word that they see, they know the difference between words and letters, they have control over prominent consonant sounds, and they can decode an unknown word based on letter cues. Independent Reading When students read independently, they read silently by themselves, for their own purposes, and at their own pace. Its essential that the books students select are at their reading level. (Tompkins, 2010) Independent reading mostly takes place during workshop activities, when students choose a learning center they will go to. Learning Centers are designated areas of the classroom where students can work with hands-on materials to guide their own learning (Rog, 2001). All learning centers incorporate literacy but there should be a center that is designated specifically as the Literacy Center, also referred to in classrooms as the reading corner. The literacy center is the focal point of my classroom. I provide spots for children to read quietly as well as a gathering place for discussions and read alouds. Independent reading time lasts about 50 minutes to an hour, with the first 10 minutes used to gather beforehand to go over procedures. Although I have less direct involvement during independent reading, I am still observing my students to make sure they are making efficient use of their time. I am usually conducting guided reading at the same time the rest of the class is reading independently. Modeled Writing Modeled writing happens throughout the day within various activities. The very first activity of the day is the Morning Message and is a modeled writing exercise. Each


morning I write down a simple message on the board that is a couple sentences. An example is Today is Monday. It is cold today. As I write this message I will sound out every letter and announce when I am making a space to indicate a new word. I explain why I capitalize Monday, and why I am marking the end of my sentence with a period. The students dont copy this message down, it is their role to watch and observe. Shared Writing through Language Experience Approach Shared writing activities are meant for students to document their language and experiences while seeing the process of a skilled writer. The activity occurs every day and should last about ten minutes. Experience charts may be used to document a recent experience the children had, such as going on a field trip. As I begin the exercise, I call on students to recall memories of their experience. As they share their anecdote I write it down exactly as I hear it. This way they can see exactly what their speech looks like in written form. As I write I am modeling the process of a skilled writer while demonstrating strategies. Because the language is their own they are usually able to read the text and this is why its an effective strategy. Guided Writing/Interactive Writing Guided/Interactive Writing is a process where I collaborate with my students to write a text together, using a shared pen which involves the children in the writing process (Rog, 2001). I maintain most of the responsibility as I transcribe the text. Students write the parts they know and I fill in the parts they dont know. Through guided/interactive writing, I am using scaffolding to demonstrate writing highfrequency words, applying phonics and spelling skills and writing texts that students cannot write independently. My objective is to stress letter-sound relationships,


phonetic patterns, and unique ways of spelling. At this point in the writing process I am focusing more strongly on revising and editing strategies. Independent Writing/Writing Workshop During independent writing activities students do the writing themselves. This is a time when they can apply the strategies and skills theyve adapted during the other activities. Students are encouraged to choose their own topics and move at their own pace. Independent writing typically takes place during Writing Workshop. Workshop takes place everyday and is at the same time everyday. Before students begin workshops, they have been instructed thoroughly of the rules and procedures. During this time students are expected to compose their own stories in the form of books with multiple pages, illustrations, and text. Children know that the end of writing workshop doesnt necessarily mean their book is finished unless they have determined it is done, in which case they are ready to begin a new composition. When it is time to wrap up their writing, students join me to share their compositions. Afterwards, children will choose which of their compositions they would like to put in their writing portfolios for assessment (Ray, 2004). This wraps up my literacy plan. I have made sure to demonstrate my balanced approach, making use of a variety of reading and writing activities in order to facilitate the learning of specific concepts, strategies, and skills that cannot be addressed in one form of activity. My assessment and instructional strategies are developmentally appropriate and are sensitive to students diverse needs. I believe I have demonstrated my abilities as a teacher of literacy through evidence of knowing literacy theory and subject matter. I am able to plan a variety of


literacy activities that engage my students and motivate them to have a desire to read and write. I provide a variety of instructional and assessment strategies, demonstrating my understanding of how to test for student progress. I am hoping this plan clearly expresses my teacher literacy standards and strengths and you believe I have what it takes to teach kindergarteners a balanced approach to literacy. Thank you for your time and consideration.


References Cambourne, B. (1995, Nov.). Toward an educationally relevant theory of literacy learning: Twenty years of inquiry. The Reading Teacher (Vol. 49, No. 3). International Reading Association.

Clay, M (2007). An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Clay, M. (1991). Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control (2nd ed.) Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Holdaway, D. (2000). Affinities and Contradictions: The Dynamics of Social of Acquisition Learning. Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Reading and Writing (Vol. 5, No. 1). Reading Recovery Council of North America.

Ray, K.W. (2004). About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

Rog, L. J. (2001). Early Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten (4th ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association, Inc..

Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy For The 21st Century: A Balanced Approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson .

Wood, C. (2007). Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14 (3rd ed.). Turner Falls, MA: National Foundation for Children, Inc..


My Professional Development Plan Self-Reflection and Goal Setting While working on my literacy plan I thought about areas of teaching where I still need time and practice. These are areas I might be able to talk about and recognize but need more experience to gain a skillful teaching practice. I have selected my goals based on the Wisconsin Educator Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure. Teachers know how to teach. While I am gaining more and more knowledge of teaching with each passing semester, I still need a lot more classroom practice with students. While my literacy plan demonstrates I can explain teacher practices, I struggle to come up with specific examples of what this actually looks like in a classroom simply because I do not have enough experience teaching within a classroom environment. With a couple more field experiences and my student teaching, I am confident I will be ready and excited to teach. As Cambournes Conditions explain, I am receiving plenty of demonstration and am actively engaged and responsible but I need more experience being immersed in the teaching experience. Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons. I have read about many kinds of learning activities and strategies and observed some of them while being in school. To employ these strategies in my practice I recognize I still need experience organizing and planning systematic instruction based on the state standards and curriculum goals, the community and students. With time I expect I will be very familiar with the state academic and teacher standards and will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate them. Once I know my objectives for instruction I imagine I will get better at coming up with diverse activities that I can employ to address the many objectives. Teachers know how to test for student progress. In this semesters early literacy class I have learned of the different ways I can assess children, what behaviors and progress I want to look for and how to diagnose students strengths and weaknesses. I have only begun to learn how to assess formally and need to become more familiar with the variety of formal assessments to test childrens development. I need more practice determining the appropriate instructional level for students and to gain more skill in recognizing when specific concepts are too easy or too difficult for student learning.