Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Elementary Education

First Advisor

Gerald Oglan


Balanced Literacy Activities in Ontario JK – Grade 8

Comprehensive Literacy Classrooms:

Examining Self-Reported Frequency of Classroom Activities


Elizabeth Louise Pearsall

August 2015

Advisor: Dr. G. Oglan

Major: Reading, Language & Literature

Degree: Doctor of Education

The purpose of this study was to discover the Frequency of Use rates for balanced/ comprehensive literacy activities as described in 46 survey statements across the four Ontario elementary school divisions (Early Years, JK/SK; Primary Division, Grades 1, 2, & 3; Junior Division, Grades 4, 5, & 6; and Intermediate Division, Grades 7 & 8). In addition another purpose of this study was to discover any similarities or differences of sources of balanced literacy instruction information when considering teachers’ ages. The research questions were:

Q #1: To what extent are activities of balanced literacy instruction used in elementary divisions (Early Years: Junior Kindergarten & Senior Kindergarten; Primary: Grades 1, 2, & 3; Junior Grades 4, 5, & 6; and Intermediate: Grades 7 & 8)?

Q #2: To what extent do teachers in different elementary classrooms (Primary: Grade 1, 2, & 3 and Junior: Grades 4, 5, & 6) employ common balanced literacy activities?

Q#3: To what extent are the self-reported information source of balanced literacy instruction by teachers across age categories similar or dissimilar?

An email was sent out to Elementary School principals of one SW Ontario School Board asking them to forward a link to an on-line survey to the teachers on their staff. Data collection included: (1) demographic information; (2) quantifying the amount of information gained from 47 possible sources of balanced literacy instruction (None, Minimal Amount, Some Information, Substantial Information, and Does Not Apply); (3) quantifying the frequency of use of the classroom activities listed in 46 statements (Never, Rarely, Monthly, Weekly, or Daily); and (4) information provided for 4 open response questions (What practices have made the greatest difference for your students to learn to read and write?; Describe the types of frustration you may experience in the application of your understanding and knowledge of balanced literacy as you teach reading and writing; Describe how you have designed your classroom for your students to learn to read and write; and Name the literacy program(s) you utilize in your classroom).

. The researcher determined from the data that balanced literacy instruction does occur in all four elementary divisions – with varying numbers of teachers and varying frequency rates. The researcher also determined from the data that the responding teachers in the three different age categories appeared to report having multiple sources of information on balanced literacy instruction – with varying numbers of teachers and varying amounts of information.

The researcher’s conclusions support the idea that teachers are following the provincial and school board directive to use balanced/ comprehensive literacy instruction in elementary schools.