Four Block Framework
The Four Blocks—Guided Reading, Self-Selected Reading, Writing, and Working with Words—represent four different approaches to teaching children to read. Daily instruction in all Four Blocks provides numerous and varied opportunities for all children to learn to read and write. Doing all Four Blocks acknowledges that children do not all learn in the same way and provides substantial instruction to support whatever learning personality a child has.
Philosophy and Goals of the Four Block Framework:
The Four-Blocks® Literacy Model is a multilevel, balanced literacy framework that incorporates four different approaches each day to teach children how to become better readers, writers, and spellers. Developed by Drs. Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall, this model acknowledges that not all children learn in the same way and provides substantial instruction to support the learning personalities of all students.
The program consists of four teaching models, each presented daily at a time scheduled by the teacher according to classroom needs:
*Guided Reading: In Guided Reading, teachers choose material for children to read and a purpose for reading, and then guide them to use reading strategies needed for that material and that purpose. Teachers provide guidance in a variety of whole class, small group, and partner formats.
Guided Reading is always focused on comprehension. Children learn to predict what might happen or what they might learn. They learn about the story elements of characters, setting, and plot, and they learn how to organize and compare information learned from informational text.
*Working With Words: The purpose of this block is to ensure that children read, spell, and use high-frequency words correctly, and that they learn the patterns necessary for decoding and spelling. Students are introduced to five new words each week. Teachers can assess, monitor, and plan for the needs of the entire group, as well as the individual students. This ensures students learn the high-frequency words and engage in activities to learn how words work through strategies such as Making Words, Guess the Covered Word, Word Wall, and more.
*Self-Selected Reading: This block usually begins with the teacher conducting a read-aloud. After the read-aloud, students are sent to read to themselves from boxes full of familiar books. Self-Selected Reading is that part of a balanced literacy program during which children get to choose what they want to read and to what parts of their reading they want to respond. Opportunities are provided for children to share and respond to what is read. Teachers hold individual conferences with children about their books.
*Writing: The Writing Block includes a mini-lesson (called Writer's Workshop) that provides children with a model of what writers do. During the block, children engage in various writing activities from starting a new piece, finishing a piece, revising, editing, or illustrating. Another component includes conferences that lead to a final published piece. During this time, students are introduced to writing folders and the Six Traits of Writing. In the Author's Chair, children share their writing and respond to each other's writing at various stages in its development.