by Belinda Breeze

Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom by Jan Burkins and Kari Yates is a groundbreaking exploration that bridges the gap between traditional literacy teaching methods and the insights gleaned from cognitive science and research on reading.

This book ingeniously navigates the often-debated realms of balanced literacy and the scientific understanding of reading acquisition. Burkins and Yates present a compelling argument, advocating for an evolution in literacy instruction by integrating scientifically proven methods into the balanced literacy approach.

The authors dissect the science behind reading, emphasising the importance of phonics, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and oral language development. They adeptly illustrate how these foundational elements are pivotal in fostering reading proficiency and comprehension.

One of the most admirable aspects of ‘Shifting the Balance’ is its practicality. The authors don’t merely talk about on theories but provide actual strategies and tools for educators to implement in their classrooms. Each of the six ways outlined in the book provides a wealth of actionable steps, enabling teachers to recalibrate their literacy instruction effectively.

The book’s structure is clear and organised, making it accessible to educators at various stages of their careers. Whether one is new to the concept of integrating science-backed approaches into literacy teaching or a veteran educator seeking to hone their techniques, this book accommodates all levels of familiarity with the subject matter.

What’s more, Burkins and Yates don’t embrace a one-size-fits-all approach. They recognise the assorted needs of students and emphasise the importance of diversity and flexibility in teaching, providing adaptive approaches suitable for a wide range of learners.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to note that while the book offers a comprehensive understanding and practical solutions, its implementation may well call for adjustments and continuous professional development within educational institutions.

‘Shifting the Balance’ is an inspirational work that combines pedagogical expertise with scientific research, offering educators a valuable roadmap to enrich their literacy instruction. It serves as a catalyst for change, pressing teachers to incorporate evidence-based practices while upholding the core principles of balanced literacy. This book is an indispensable resource for teachers seeking to elevate their instruction and improve student outcomes in reading proficiency.

At the core of this book lies the assertion that the teaching of reading should be anchored in evidence based practices.

Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom is available from Amazon for AED 196.61.