Curriculum & Instruction Departments
Across grade levels, Orange County supports a balanced approach to literacy instruction—a guaranteed curriculum for all students.
What is balanced literacy?
In elementary school, balanced literacy means a teacher purposefully organizes and provides instruction around three primary components: reading, writing, and word study/vocabulary. In upper grades and in content areas, it means a balance between the content and the process of learning that results in purposeful reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. Students are supported by teachers through a gradual release of responsibility (teachers model; teacher and students work together; teacher guides students; students work independently) in order to become accomplished readers, writers, viewers, listeners, speakers, and thinkers.
To help achieve balanced literacy classrooms, each elementary and middle school has a literacy coach who works closely with classroom teachers. One level of support from a literacy coach is to work collaboratively with a host teacher (one who opens his or her classroom for co-teaching). Other levels of support might include facilitating a book study. Less intensive levels of support might include a quick, literacy-focused conversation walking down the hallway, sharing an article, or offering a set of listening ears about a lesson.
Each elementary school also has a reading teacher who works closely with classroom teachers. The reading teacher might co-teach with a classroom teacher or work collaboratively to determine a student’s reading needs in order to offer targeted reading intervention. Reading intervention will look different depending on a student’s needs, but it is always offered in small groups for a limited and intensive amount of time. Sometimes the reading intervention will be offered during reading workshop, a 60 minute block of daily instruction; other times it might be offered in addition to reading workshop at another time during the school day.
Another reading intervention for students in grades 3-12 who need support achieving grade level proficiency is Whole-to-Part. Students in Whole-to-Part are assessed to determine their greatest area of need as a reader. This information places students in one of three groups—word identification, language comprehension, or print processing—where they receive instruction that matches what they need to grow as a reader.
Teachers in Orange County are committed to offering students the best literacy instruction—in each classroom and through systematic, assessment-driven intervention or purposeful, student-interest driven enrichment when needed.
District Literacy Goal
Increase literacy achievement
through systematically consistent,
within a language and literacy framework