Balanced literacy is a teaching method that incorporates phonics and whole language activities to teach reading, writing and speaking skills. It includes both direct instruction from the teacher and independent practice.
The purpose of balanced literacy is to maximize the benefits of instruction by pulling the most effective aspects of both phonics and whole language. The phonics approach focuses on letters and sounds. Whole language teaches word recognition in context as part of meaningful text. A program based on balanced literacy includes both independent and shared reading and writing tasks. Teachers model the skills and give the students a chance to practice on their own.