Sunday, September 22, 2013

What is the Four Blocks Literacy Framework?

Four Blocks is a balanced-literacy framework created for teaching language arts, based on the premise that all children don't learn in the same way. It integrates four language arts areas into reading instruction. These areas are: guided reading, self-selected reading, writing, and working with words.
The program consists of four teaching models, each presented daily at a time scheduled by the teacher according to classroom needs:

Guided Reading assigns children from all reading levels into small-group sessions called “book-club” groups. The objective is to teach comprehension and mastery of progressively more difficult material through exposure to a wide range of literature.

Self-Selected Reading usually begins with the teacher reading aloud. Next, children read on their own, selecting from a variety of books gathered by the teacher. This block may include a small group reading an easy book with on-level instruction. The block usually ends with one or two children sharing their books with the class in a “reader’s chair” format.

Writing starts with a 10-minute writers' workshop in which the teacher models the writing process. The children write their own stories on topics of their choice. The teacher helps the children revise, edit and publish their writing. The block ends with an “author's chair,” with several students describing work in progress or published books.

Words begins with the “Word Wall,” a 10-minute review of frequently occurring words posted above or below an alphabet (five new words per week). Students practice new and old words daily. Children learn spelling patterns using phonics to read new words and learn the patterns that allow them to decode and spell new words.

At Discovery School, we believe that this teaching framework is for use in regular, heterogeneously constructed classrooms. The framework allows at-risk students to receive specialized programming, such as Reading Recovery, and to benefit from this model as well.

Recent findings from emergent literacy research have demonstrated that children who easily learn to read and write have a variety of experiences with reading and writing that enable them to profit from school literacy experiences (Cunningham & Allington, 1999). Classroom teachers will provide a variety of reading and writing experiences from which all children develop these six critical understandings, which are the "building blocks" of their success.
  • Children learn that reading provides both enjoyment and information, and they develop a desire to learn to read and write.
  • Students also learn many new concepts and add words and meaning to their speaking vocabularies.
  • Children learn print concepts, including how to read from left to write, how to read from top to bottom, etc.
  • Children develop phonemic awareness, including the concept to rhyme.
  • Students learn to read and write some interesting-to-them words, such as
    CVC word, consonant-vowel-consonant. (cat, dog )
  • Students learn some letters and sounds---usually connected to the interesting words they have learned.
         Ms. Nora Sierra
         Lower Elementary Coordinator



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