AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT LITERACY FRAMEWORK
The Austin Independent School
District Literacy Framework includes a K-12 balanced literacy approach to the teaching of reading and writing using Reader's and Writer's Workshop. Balanced literacy provides structures and supports that will enable all students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and habits needed to meet or exceed the
standards in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
In the balanced literacy approach, students are apprenticed as readers, writers, and thinkers. Teaching and learning are active social processes. Learning environments are organized for effort so that thinking is modeled and analyzed and all students are provided with coaching and feedback. Instruction is scaffolded based on a student's Zone of Proximal Development, (ZPD), with the goal of guiding all students toward independence. The support is gradually released to students while providing them with feedback and coaching. This gradual release of responsibility is illustrated in the "Balanced Literacy: Scaffolding Learning" graphic. It depicts the movement from modeled and shared instruction to guided and then independent practice.
The gradual release is seen in classrooms as teachers first model reading and writing... "I Do, You Watch," followed by sharing reading and writing... "I Do, You Help," then guiding reading and writing... "You Do, I Help," and finally, independent reading and writing by students... "You Do, I Watch." This "I do, you do, we do" process sometimes occurs within one lesson, but more often occurs over a period of days, and moves back and forth among the three.
Purposeful selection of texts and learning activities are essential in implementing a rigorous balanced literacy block of instruction each day. Teachers use both whole and small group formats and determine which is best for whom, when, and why. A variety of questioning strategies are utilized to deepen students' understanding, to formatively assess, and to press students for justification for their ideas and claims. Teachers recognize the importance of active student engagement and provide many opportunities for students to make their ideas and thinking public. Teachers understand WHAT should be taught, HOW the instruction will be delivered, WHO will receive the instruction, and WHY the instruction is appropriate for the students.
WHAT should be taught is outlined within the aligned curriculum which is displayed in the Curriculum Road Maps (CRMs) for each grade level.
HOW the instruction will be delivered incorporates best practices for teaching reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Best practices include bringing students and texts together, developing vocabulary knowledge and concepts, activating prior knowledge and interest, guiding reader-text interaction, writing to learn, and studying texts. Teaching and learning on the diagonal supports rigor in literacy and language arts. For students to become literate in reading, writing, and thinking, they must develop knowledge along two dimensions.
WHY the instruction is appropriate for the students is delineated in the Three Tier Intervention Model for Struggling Learners. In this model, students are diagnosed and treated with individualized interventions to develop literacy skills in language arts and reading. Students at different levels of learning require different levels of intervention in the varied instructional settings. The intervention model provides a "flow chart" view of individualized interventions.
READER'S and WRITER'S WORKSHOP - As the term "workshop" implies, students must be actively engaged in exploring texts in many different ways.