Hello and welcome to week 1 of our Annual Summer Book Study! If you are new here, welcome! 🙂 But if you have been a follower for a few years, then you probably know that Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard and I have done a joint book study each summer. We both like to grow our teacher brains and keep up on the current research and best practices in education that will benefit our students! This year we chose the book, Shifting the Balance – 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom. Over the last year I have personally found the buzz around the ‘Science of Reading’ and language to be fascinating and I wanted to delve in and learn more. Taking on this book is the first step…so jump in and join us on our journey.

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Shifting the Balance – 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom

Key Point from Shift 1 when Teaching Little Learners

Each shift (chapter) is broken up into misunderstandings, short summary of the science, recommendations for ‘Making the Shift’ and then bringing it back to classroom intro story and how it was applied. It is my intention to share the key point(s) that I feel will impact little learners (prek, kindergarten and 1st graders) the most.

Oral Language Development is Imperative

I think we all agree that developing oral language is so important, yet I often think that we as teachers forget how oral language develops. It happens by listening and talking. Yes…I said talking. Talking NEEDS to happen in our classrooms. It makes me sad when I go into a silent classroom. Children need to be talking. While listening is also a component to building oral language and comprehension, students need opportunities to talk and communicate. Here are a few ideas or reminders of authentic ways that this can happen in the classroom.


Believe it or not, this is actually my Dad who came to read to my students one school year! Read-Alouds ARE IMPORTANT!

It breaks my heart when I hear teachers say that they do not have time for read-alouds. Or it’s even more troublesome when I hear that admin say that read-alouds can only be done once a day or from a basal. NOOOOOOO!! ALL children/students NEED read-alouds! Not only does this bridge the gap between written and spoken language, it provides multiple learning opportunities. Here are few tips from the book to make read-alouds more meaningful:

But don’t forget that read-alouds can be for entertainment and fun too! I believe that teachers can read a book just for fun and it doesn’t always HAVE to require an academic discourse. I think balance is the key!

Create & Maintain High Level Instructional Routines

I whole-heartedly agree with this! And while it does take a bit to get used to and master, once you make it a routine, it’s like magic! Here are a few routines suggested from the book and I personally have found to provide success for my students!

If you are looking for more ways to teach your students HOW to ask and answer questions, I have an entire blog post of ideas HERE.

What did you think of Shift 1?

I love the confirmation that shift 1 provided to me! It confirmed that some of the practices that I have been doing are proven and work. That’s always a good thing to know that you are going in the right direction! But don’t forget…head over to my friend, Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard and check out his blog post for the day. And let me know in the comments or on my FB or Instagram page what you got out of shift !

4 Responses

  1. From Shift 1
    I loved thst Oral language development as an essential ingredient for comprehension. Kids need as much purposef talk time. I love using text sets. My principal and I use discussing going back to doing thematic approach by doing 2 to 3 week units on a topic.
    I also want to do more of the repeat and extend. Sometimes I cut this short because time.

    1. I hope this ‘shift’ takes us back to the time when we knew how IMPORTANT purposeful play and language was to academics! I highly recommend the thematic approach…it’s super helpful!

    1. Thank you for your interest in this book study. However this one was for 2021. Thank you for your interest.

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