Document Type

Graduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2003

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



Committee Chair

Gail Goss

Second Committee Member

Carol L. Butterfield

Third Committee Member

Steven A. Schmitz


Balanced literacy instruction can be defined in a variety of ways. The important characteristic about a balanced literacy program is that it is neither phonics nor whole language. Creating a balanced literacy program within a classroom encompasses both phonics and whole language in a literature rich environment. Students who participate in a balanced program have opportunities to read and write daily through a variety of meaningful approaches including shared, guided, independent and direct instruction. The literature rich environment provides growth for all students, by teaching skills and strategies through literacy in a natural setting not in isolation. Teachers in the Wenatchee School District who taught third, fourth, and fifth grade in the year 2001 - 2002, and whose class had at least 75% of their students make a year's growth in a year's time, were asked to complete a questionnaire based on their literacy instruction. The results found these classrooms making growth were those who embraced a balanced literacy approach. The importance of balanced literacy and suggested implications are discussed.