Balanced Literacy
We've been using the Balanced Literacy method since 1996. This method
completely effective without the other and the results are amazing!  
Balanced Literacy involves reading
to, with, and by students, as well as what
students seem to miss most... the thinking behind reading and writing
decisions, strategies, and self corrections.
Reading
Of course having literacy centers in place, allows children the opportunity to independently
practice what you've been teaching (either in large or small group instruction) while you work
with a small  group.
Writing
Reading TO children:

Read Alouds:  
*help to internalize sentence structure and
"book language" concepts,
*provide motivation to learn to read,
*develop a sense of story structure,
*develop vocabulary concepts,
*build prediction skills, and
*provide a proficient reader model
Reading WITH children:

Shared Reading:
*develops: comprehension skills,
language-rhyming, plot/story elements

Focus Poetry:    
*develops/reviews high frequency words
and known phonics, and
*teacher models/develops: print concepts,
early reading strategies, use
of 3 cueing sources, monitoring and
self-correction, good reader
strategies, comprehension
Reading BY children:     

Guided Reading:  
*reinforces reading strategies in context of
story
*story introduction promotes children's
effective use of cueing sources,
prediction, monitoring, etc., and
*teacher supports/prompts: print concepts,
early reading strategies,
use of 3 cueing sources, monitoring and
self-correction, good reader
strategies comprehension    

Independent Reading:  
*builds self-confidence, fluency,
vocabulary, and
*provides practice in applying reading
strategies
Writing FOR children:

*Teacher-modeled writing
Writing WITH children:

Shared Writing  (Buzz Book, morning
messages, language experience charts, etc.)  
  
*models how phonics works,
*models conventional spelling,
*models mechanics - capitals at the
beginning, punctuation ( . ? ! ) at     
the end, etc.,
*aids in understanding the reciprocity of
reading and writing,
*helps in hearing/sequencing sounds in
words, and
*develops print concepts
Writing BY children:    

Independent Writing:  
*builds confidence as a writer,                 
*strengthens story structure,                     
*develops understanding of uses of
writing,                                  
*supports reading development,               
*provides practice in different types of
writing,                                
*develops understanding of writing as a
recursive process