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

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

These days, it seems that everyone has a strong opinion about how to teach young children to read. Some may brush off the current tension as nothing more than one more round of ?the reading wars.? Others may avoid the clash altogether due to the uncivilized discourse that sometimes results. Certainly, sorting the signal from the noise is no easy task.In this leading-edge book, authors Jan Burkins and Kari Yates address this tension as a critical opportunity to look closely at the research, reevaluate current practices, and embrace new possibilities for an even stronger enactment of balanced literacy. 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 chapteridentifies a common instructional practice to reconsiderexplores various misunderstandings that establish and keep that practice in playshares scientific research to support its reconsiderationproposes an instructional shift to apply a new perspective, anddetails 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.


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Editorial Reviews


?Finally, a book that has the power to stop the literacy pendulum swings! In Shifting the Balance , Burkins and Yates skillfully explore ?balanced literacy? and ?the science of reading? to find the sweet spots where they overlap, connect, and actually complement one another. The result is a resource that raises our level of instruction while helping children discover and reap the joyful rewards of reading.?
?Susie Rolander, Bank Street College

?What are the research-based, critical elements for teaching reading? In Shifting the Balance , Jan and Kari give you the information, classroom examples, and tools to help you make the best decisions around six key shifts for instruction. After reviewing the misunderstandings, the science, and the needs of your students, you will be able to audit your current practices (individually, in a PLC, or system-wide) to provide responsive and effective literacy learning for all your students.?
?Fran McVeigh, Teacher, Consultant, #G2Great Chat Moderator and Associate Academic Coordinator for Morningside College

?In Shifting the Balance, Jan and Kari invite us to reflect and reexamine our beliefs about teaching reading. They gently nudge us to rethink and possibly adjust our early literacy practices. Jan and Kari have taken on this controversial topic by embracing vulnerability and modeling what it means to be truly reflective practitioners. This book is a must read for new and veteran teachers!?
?Jennifer Allen, Literacy Specialist, Waterville Public Schools, ME

?In Shifting the Balance , Kari and Jan have masterfully dispelled many of the myths and misunderstandings associated with reading instruction. Additionally, they offer classroom teachers and coaches six simple, practical shifts that have the power to transform the way we teach children how to read. Indeed, balanced literacy and science do exist in harmony, and we practitioners can offer our children both concurrently. Thank you, Kari and Jan, for this important work that is sure to change lives!?
?Christina Nosek, co-author of To Know and Nurture a Reader: Conferring with Confidence and Joy

? In Shifting the Balance , Jan Burkins and Kari Yates provide a safe space for teachers to courageously examine some long-held balanced literacy practices and turn a critical eye to where those practices have gotten out of balance. If you?re willing to be vulnerable and move towards resolving the gap between research and practice, this book provides actionable steps you can take to shift your thinking and bring instruction into alignment with the scientific evidence.?
?Helen White, Instructional Support Teacher, Northside Independent School District

? Shifting the Balance is a welcoming opportunity to reexamine our familiar teaching practices. Without judgment, Burkins and Yates invigorate these practices by inviting educators to make scientific shifts in the systems that have been in place for years. This book will revolutionize reading instruction and in turn, the lives of countless students.?
?Jennifer Clyne Stewart, M.Ed., Dyslexia Specialist

?This book speaks to teachers. It is overwhelmingly clear that Jan Burkins and Kari Yates have been and are immersed in the world of today?s classrooms. Shifting the Balance will help many rethink instruction in ways that will support all students. In the current version of the Reading Wars, it is difficult for any of us to say we were wrong about some of our beliefs or practices. And thus, few do. However, Jan Burkins and Kari Yates have done just that. This is as commendable as it is unusual.?
?David Liben,

?This book found me at just the right time! Shifting the Balance gives voice to the questions I?ve had in my mind about Balanced Literacy and the Science of Reading and provides clear insights on how to connect the best parts of both to benefit early readers. Throughout the book, Jan and Kari confirm practices worth holding onto while providing actionable next steps I can?t wait to implement with students to strengthen my reading instruction.?
?Kristen Mullikin, Reading Specialist, Elk Grove Unified School District. –This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Dr. Jan Burkins was a literacy coach for seven years. She is a fulltime writer and consultant after working as a part-time assistant professor and district literacy leader.

With a passion for helping busy literacy educators thrive, Kari Yates is an author, speaker, consultant and staff developer. She has experience as a classroom teacher, reading recovery teacher, elementary principal and district literacy coordinator.

–This text refers to the paperback edition.

Additional information

Best Sellers Rank

#45,442 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store) #6 in Elementary School #7 in Reading Education #20 in Pedagogy

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