How to Reach and Teach All Children  Through Balanced Literacy
(Grades 3-8)

Practical Strategies, Lessons, and Activities

by Sandra Rief & Julie Heimburge

2007 Edition

A balanced literacy program for upper elementary and middle school students includes:

·    Explicit teacher modeling of reading and writing strategies, skills, and metacognitive processes

·    Student modeling and sharing of standard-setting, proficient reading & writing

·    Expository and narrative reading and writing experiences throughout the day and threading throughout all content areas

·    Reading to students (read aloud), together with students (shared and guided), and by students (independently), using quality pieces of fiction and nonfiction text

·    Oral language development and listening experiences

·    Word study instruction and practice to build students’ vocabulary, word recognition, spelling, and fluency skills

·    Independent reading and writing to build stamina and fluency

·    Multiple opportunities for engagement, inquiry, and expression through various reading and writing groupings, formats, resources and projects

·    Multiple and varied student assessments to drive instruction


          These are the topics addressed in How to Reach & Teach All Children through Balanced Literacy.  This comprehensive resource provides expert guidance, strategies, and activities for teaching literacy to diverse readers and writers in grades 3-8.  It is packed with creative, motivating, ready-to-use strategies, lessons, tools, and activities. This book shows you:

  • How to balance teacher talk/student talk, teacher-directed/student-directed activities, formal/informal assessments, instructional grouping formats, and learning style preferences
  • How to obtain books and organize/manage the classroom library
  • Reading and Writing workshops – tips and guidance
  • 24 motivating literacy stations for upper elementary/middle school classrooms
  • Strategies for accessing and comprehending nonfiction, and several motivating activities to help students understand expository text features and structures  
  • Numerous activities, strategies, websites, and interventions for building spelling, vocabulary and fluency
  • How to make oral language come alive using “Quick-Talks”, commercials, newscasts, and a host of other techniques
  • How to use a thematic approach to integrate content – with lesson plans, resources, and activities for a “survival” theme
  • How to develop special units of study around authors, story elements, and genres
  • How to put Book Clubs into practice, with several management tools, and over 60 choices of culminating Book Club activities.
  • Types of reading and writing difficulties in students and information about research-based intervention programs to support struggling students
  • A host of metacognitive reading comprehension strategies and scaffolds supported by the research to strengthen comprehension in readers of all abilities
  • Numerous research-based strategies for use during the writing process, and for explicitly teaching various narrative and expository writing genres
  • How to teach and enhance literacy through current technologies and empower struggling readers/writers through assistive technology.
  • 60 recommended literacy web sites for teachers and students
  • PLUS several reproducibles and motivating classroom activities