The Literacy Collaborative Model
The Literacy Collaborative is a program for grades K-5 developed by Lesley University to improve reading and writing instruction. Classroom activities include Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop, and Language/Word Study. Within this framework, the content and activities differ at each grade level, and with the most significant differences between grades K-2 and 3-5. Instruction also takes place at different levels within an individual classroom, so each student is learning at his or her own level. While the Literacy Collaborative provides a framework for teachers to use, it also allows them room for creativity and expression of their individual teaching style.
Reading instruction occurs during Reading Workshop, which has two aspects for Grade K – 2: Guided Reading and Independent Literacy Work (Workboard), and three aspects for Grade 3 – 5: Independent Reading, Guided Reading and Literature Study. To support the reading activities, each class has its own classroom library, consisting of bins of books carefully chosen by the teacher and organized by author, topic, and genre. Independent Reading is a time when students choose “just right” books which they read on their own, while participating in teacher conferences and (Grades 3-5) keeping reading notebooks. During Guided Reading, students work in small groups to read a text with direct instruction from the teacher. The students are grouped at similar levels, but they are fluid groupings that constantly change throughout the year to accommodate each student’s current level of performance. During Literature Study, small groups of students at different levels choose a book of interest to them, and engage in an in-depth discussion about the text.
Students’ writing skills are developed during Writing Workshop which includes Independent Writing, Guided Writing and Interactive Writing (Grade K – 2) or Investigations (Grades 3 – 5). Writing instruction begins with short “mini-lessons” focused on writing craft and conventions. In Independent Writing, students write in a variety of genres using the writing process of brainstorming, drafting, revising and editing, and by participating in teacher conferences. For Guided Writing, students work in small, temporary groups to receive focused instruction based on the students’ needs. During Interactive Writing teachers and children compose messages and stories that are written using a “shared pen” technique that involves children in the writing. In Investigations, students use reading, writing, and a variety of media to explore topics in depth. These projects often result in a final project such as an oral presentation, performance, or display.
Language/Word Study is a time for explicit focus on vocabulary and spelling. Students participate in Interactive Read-Aloud, Reader’s Theater/Process Drama, Poetry Sharing/Response, Interactive Edit, Handwriting, and Buddy Study, when students work in pairs to practice spelling with a Buddy Check test once a week.