Glossary of Terms


During a portion of the literacy block in the classroom, the teacher establishes independent/group tasks in some type of center format that have a clear instructional purpose. Every independent/group task needs to be related to literature of various genres (ie: reading and response to literature). Routines for independent reading need to be established early in the school year as part of center work.

Gradual Release of Responsibility in Teaching and Learning

Pearson and Gallagher's seminal article (The Instruction of Reading Comprehension, 1983) on comprehension became the basis of the theory of the gradual release of responsibility in teaching and learning. Their review of the research in comprehension proposed a model of guided and independent practice with feedback.

Guided/Small Group Reading (reading by children)

A reading strategy with groups of 3-5 children brought together in a classroom setting. Groups are made up of students with similar needs and/or instructional reading levels. Books are selected by the teacher to be easily read by the children with just limited support by the teacher during the reading. While the teacher is working with a small group, the rest of the students are engaged in independent literacy work activities, including reading independently as part of those activities.

Independent Reading (reading by children)

This is generally a daily literacy activity where the student chooses a text based on individual purpose and interest, is easy to read (95% accuracy and high level of comprehension for the child) while the teacher observes, confers and assists.

Interactive Editing

Use this teaching method to teach students how to select key vocabulary and concepts from a text and then paraphrase and summarize that text using the vocabulary. In a typical lesson using this strategy, the students highlight key terms and phrases in their reading as modeled by the teacher. After highlighting one section, the teacher and students “rewrite” the section in their own words, using all of the key terms and phrases.

Interactive Writing

A collaborative teaching method in which students and teachers deliberate the form and content of a message they are going to write and share the pen to construct their message. In sharing the pen, students examine their thinking and develop metacognitive understanding about the reading and writing processes.

Read Alouds (reading to children)

Use this common teaching practice across the content areas to enable students to be exposed to texts beyond their reading level, focus on comprehension strategies, build vocabulary and concepts, increase their exposure to book language and structure, and improve listening skills.

Shared Reading (reading with children)

This is a model of reading with a group of children developed by Holdaway (1979). It builds on the research that indicates that reading to children is a critically important factor in young children’s reading development. Using oversized books and illustrations (referred to as big books) or charts with enlarged print, the text is read multiple times with more and more children joining in the repeated readings.

Writer’s Workshop

This is a structured approach to teaching writing developed by Lucy Calkins. It begins with a short mini-lesson that is based on real world writing examples, followed by an extended time with students engaged in the writing process. The system includes peer collaboration and conferring with the teacher as students work on their writing craft, and the workshop concludes each day with students sharing writing examples with others.