6 ways to bring the science of reading into the balanced literacy classroom
From phonological processing to brain research to orthographic mapping to self-teaching hypothesis, Shifting the Balance cuts through the rhetoric (and the sciencey science) to offer readers a practical guide to decision-making about beginning reading instruction. The authors honor the balanced literacy perspective while highlighting common practices to reconsider and revise—all through a lens of what’s best for the students sitting in front of us.
Across six shifts, each chapter
• identifies a common instructional practice to reconsider
• explores various misunderstandings that establish and keep that practice in play
• shares scientific research to support its reconsideration
• proposes an instructional shift to apply a new perspective, and
• details several high-leverage instructional routines to support implementation of that shift.
By pinpointing gaps and overlaps—as well as common misunderstandings and missed opportunities between the competing lines of thought—Jan and Kari offer busy educators direction and clarification for integrating science and balance into their daily instruction, while keeping meaningful experiences with text a priority.
About the Authors:
Jan Burkins, author of Preventing Misguided Reading (IRA, 2010) and Kim Yaris are the writers and thinkers behind Burkins and Yaris -- Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy, where their blog and their instructional resources have drawn a national audience and made them thought leaders in the field of literacy instruction. Both former teachers, Jan and Kim are passionate about helping educators navigate, understand, and teach instructional standards without sacrificing their inner teacher. In their roles as literacy consultants, they work closely with schools and districts -- facilitating staff development, conducting in-class demonstrations, and developing curriculum.
Kari Yates is an author, speaker, consultant and staff developer with a passion for helping busy literacy educators thrive. Her experiences include classroom teacher, special education, Reading Recovery teacher, elementary principal and district literacy coordinator. Kari is also the author of Simple Starts: Making the Move to a Reader-Centered Classroom (Heinemann, 2015) and Eat Your Broccoli (Richard C. Owens Publishing, 2005).
Kari earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education and early childhood, beginning her career as an elementary classroom teacher in rural North Dakota. Several years later an unexpected opportunity to teach early childhood special education led to her earn her master’s degree in special education. Working in PreK to grade 1 classrooms, she quickly discovered a deep passion for supporting emergent readers and writers. When the chance to train as a Reading Recovery teacher presented itself, Kari jumped on it and found her understanding of teaching, learning, and early literacy forever changed.
After 21 years as a teacher, Kari accepted her first of two elementary principal positions, following a calling to influence instructional practices within schools on a broader scale. Later, she moved to a district leadership role providing staff development, program planning, and curriculum support for literacy and English learner programs with the Moorhead Area Public Schools in Moorhead, MN.
Kari’s experience leaves her uniquely qualified to facilitate decision-making, planning, and professional development at the district, building, and classroom level. Kari has a passion for helping teachers, coaches, and administrators find the inspiration, courage, and resources to nurture joyful, and authentic literacy learning, one next-step at a time.
Kari lives in Minnesota with her husband, John where they cherish every moment spent in, on or near the lake with children, grandchildren, friends, and family. Kari also loves to read, quilt, and rehab old furniture. She regularly volunteers to help refugee women in her community learn to read and write English.