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Online Assessment Final Exam
Course Description
Course Description
Assessment Tools
Exam Professor
Our Story
Additional References
References for Balanced Literacy
Course Outline

Description of course:


During the past thirty years or so in educational circles a debate has raged over the most effective method of teaching reading. Is teaching phonics more effective than whole language? Is whole language instruction more effective than phonemic awareness?  Classroom teachers who have been caught in the shifting tides of the debate have long known that both methods leave something to be desired. Students who are taught through the phonics first method develop strong rote skills. Spelling, grammar, and literal comprehension tend to be relative strength for these students.  Students who learn to read through the whole language approach have a good grasp of story elements but often remain weak in spelling, grammar, and writing mechanics.


Finally, the National Reading Panel conducted a major study in 1996. The results of this study point to the development of stronger literacy programs by combining not only phonics instruction with whole language approaches but also combining elements of reading and writing instruction into one program. The resulting integrated whole is referred to as balanced literacy.  Reading skills affect the development of writing skills and vice versa.  A balanced approach takes advantage of this and includes elements of word study, guided reading, silent sustained reading, interactive writing, and grammar and spelling as just some of its focus.


This course will briefly explore the historical development of balanced literacy.  The majority of our work will center around the aspects of reading and writing programs that are included in balanced literacy and how to use those elements to create lesson plans appropriate to a specific teaching situation.  What does balanced literacy look like in the real world classroom? How can a teacher plan and prepare for balanced literacy instruction?  What elements of balanced literacy are particular to the middle school?



Intended Student Population:


This course will benefit beginning teachers who have little or no practical experience in literacy instruction.  It is designed for future literacy educators, potential reading specialists, and even for current teacher facing a new classroom approach with little practical guidance.


Students will use a variety of online tools to explore materials that will clarify just what comprises balanced literacy. They will then explore a variety of online tools and use these tools to create lesson and unit plans they can use.


Online Tools for this course:


The following four tools are the primary tools selected for this course.  These tools will be used for both formative and summative assessments throughout the course.


A more important reason for the selection of these tools is that they can easily be turn keyed into use in literacy classes as well.


       Exam Professor

       Our Story


       Teacher Ease







Spring 2007
Patricia Hutton