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Opening. “Using the Four Blocks Model for Exemplary Literacy Instruction”. Presented by Susan Roberts Carson-Newman College Teacher Education Division. Spotlight on Reading.

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Using the four blocks model for exemplary literacy instruction

“Using the Four Blocks Model for Exemplary Literacy Instruction”

Presented by Susan Roberts

Carson-Newman College

Teacher Education Division

Spotlight on reading

Spotlight on Reading

  • “Our obligation to America’s teachers is as clear and strong as our obligation to America’s children. Teachers deserve all the knowledge and support we can give them. And children deserve the quality education that comes from excellent teachers. This is their birthright.”

    • First Lady Laura Bush

  • Mandate: No less than a “qualified teacher” in every public school classroom.

    • Federal No Child Left Behind Law of 2002

  • A balanced literacy framework using patricia cunningham s four blocks literacy model

    “A Balanced Literacy Framework…Using Patricia Cunningham’s Four Blocks Literacy Model”


    Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, National Research CouncilSnow, Burns, and Griffin, 1998

    • “Academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone’s reading skill at the end of grade three. A person who is not at least a modestly skilled reader by the end of third grade is quite unlikely to graduate from high school.”

    Teaching approaches 1950 s 1960 s look say sight reading

    Teaching Approaches:1950’s – 1960’s “Look, Say” “Sight Reading”

    Teaching approaches 1960 s 1990 s phonics

    Teaching Approaches:1960’s – 1990’s “Phonics”

    Teaching approaches 1990 s 2000 whole language

    Teaching Approaches:1990’s – 2000 “Whole Language”


    Balanced Reading Diet

    • To become good readers, students need a balanced reading diet. The different “food groups” of balanced reading instruction are:

    • Guided Reading

    • Self-Selected Reading

    • Writing

    • Working with Words

    Cunningham and Allington, 1999

    The big five areas of reading development

    The “Big Five” Areas of Reading Development

    • Phonemic Awareness

    • Vocabulary

    • Phonics & Decoding Strategies

    • Comprehension Strategies

    • Fluency

    Four blocks framework

    Four Blocks Framework

    • The Four Blocks framework was developed by teachers who believe that to be successful in teaching all children to read and write, we have to do it all! Doing it all means incorporating daily the different approaches to beginning reading.

    Working with words

    Working with Words

    • Purpose: To ensure that children read, spell, and use high-frequency words correctly, and that they learn the patterns necessary for decoding and spelling.

    • “In February of 2000, Time reported this trend in the vocabularies of typical 14-year-olds:

      1950 - Vocabulary of 25,000 words

      1999 - Vocabulary of 10,000 words

    Working with words1

    Working With Words

    • Segment One (Ten Minutes)

      • Word Wall

    • Segment Two (20 Minutes)

      • Decoding and Spelling Activities

        • Making Words

        • Guess the Covered Word

        • Rounding Up the Rhymes

        • Reading and Writing Rhymes

        • Using Words You Know

    Working with words2

    Working withWords

    Word walls


    • Tell students that one way to practice words is to say them aloud in a rhythmic chanting fashion. The brain responds to sound and rhythm.

    Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy P. Hall, 1998

    Word walls1


    Chant It! Cheer It!

    • Chant words, cheerleader style from the word wall. Emphasize the hard to spell words in our English language. (Illogical words but very high frequency)

    • Examples:

      • braid, laid paid---said

      • tray, stray, pray---they

      • mend, tend, send---friend


    Cunningham, Dottie Hall, 1998)

    Guided reading

    Guided Reading

    • Purpose: To build comprehension and fluency with reading, and to introduce students to a variety of literature.

    • Total Time: 30-40 minutes

    • Segment One: Before Reading

    • Segment Two: Reading:

      • Flexible Grouping: Paired (Partner), Individual, Small groups reading with the teacher, Three-ring circus, Book Club Groups

      • Teacher Coaching

  • Segment Three: After Reading

    Research: NCTE 2003

  • Teaching comprehension in the information age

    Teaching Comprehension in the Information Age

    • Informational text (nonfiction) presents different kinds of comprehension obstacles for younger readers.

    • Many young readers have trouble following the organizational structures of nonfiction text.

      • (Reutzel and Cooter 2004)

    Teaching comprehension in the information age1

    Teaching Comprehension in the Information Age

    • More time in the primary grades devoted to teaching comprehension using informational (nonfiction) texts.

    • Research:

      • Low socioeconomic children read informational text 3.6 minutes / day on average.

        • (Pearson & Duke, 2002)

    Modeled reading

    Modeled Reading

    • According to Dr. Patricia Cunningham, teachers need to read aloud daily from four types of text:

      • Fiction (Everybody Books)

      • Non-Fiction

      • Poetry

      • Classics (Old Favorites)

    Self selected reading


    • Purpose: To build fluency in reading, to allow students to read and enjoy text that is appropriate to their own independent reading levels, and to build confidence in students as readers.

    • Total Time: 30-40 minutes

    • Segment One: Teacher Read-Aloud

    • Segment Two: Independent Reading and Conferencing:

    • Segment Three: Sharing

    Advantages of the four blocks framework

    Advantages of the Four Blocks Framework

    • The model is considered “Best Practices”

    • The framework helps teachers maximize time on task and better organize the teaching / learning environment.

    • Active engagement of students alone makes a tremendous difference.

      • Sigmon, 2001

    Three rules for good teaching lola may

    Three Rules for Good Teaching(Lola May)

    • Know your stuff!

    • Know whom you stuff!

    • Stuff them elegantly!

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