thinking it through: tEaching and lEarning in thE kindErgartEn classroom
ElEmEntary tEachErs’ FEdEration oF ontario
high level of educator support 3333335 Scaffolding 3333335 low level of educator support
I do ... you watch
I do ... you help
You do ... I help
You do ... I watch
read aloud
Educator reads dennis
lee’s Alligator Pie several
times to children from
an anthology. children
‘chime in’ orally to parts
they remember.
Shared reading
the poem is printed out
on chart paper. children
all chime in while the
educator points to words.
guided reading
Educator hands the
pointer to individual
children (line-by-line)
and they read the line
by themselves, with
educator’s help as
independent reading
children read the poem
during ‘read the room’
activities and it is
included in their poetry
book that is sent home
each week for children
to read to parents.
read aloud
Educator reads from
predictable texts, such
as sue williams: I Went
Walking, pointing to
words while reading.
Shared reading
after several read alouds,
educator encourages
children to chime in
orally to repetitive
guided reading
Educator begins the story,
then asks individual
children to read individual
lines. guided reading
can also be done in small
groups, using books
matched closely to
children’s developmental
independent reading
children choose
to read the story,
independently in the
reading corner, or
during independent
reading time.
Educator goes to dramatic play centre (beauty parlour/barber), asks for appointment, and helps children
find appointment book and write in appointment times. Educator signs her name next to an appointment
time and then sits down, picks up a magazine, and reads while waiting for her appointment. while having
her haircut, the educator engages in polite conversation with the beautician/barber. she then pays for her
haircut, and thanks everyone who helped her.
Putting it all together – gradual release of
The purpose of immersing and demonstrating for
children using different instructional strategies
is to move children towards independently using
language for different purposes, applying reading
and writing strategies on their own, and thinking
critically about texts.
The gradual release of responsibility from the
educator to the child in kindergarten is described
in a variety of resources, but is most explicitly
addressed in the National Association for the
Education of Young Children’s resource: Teaching
and learning in the kindergarten year.46 The following
chart has been adapted from this resource and
infused with ideas from this ETFO document. The
shaded areas indicate where the scaffolding takes
place. These shaded areas are critical stages that
must be given thorough attention in order for the
child to move to independence with confidence.
The child needs to feel that the task is doable,
worthwhile, safe, and can be accomplished with
some guarantee of literacy success.

literacy and the young child
high level of educator support 3333335 Scaffolding 3333335 low level of educator support
read aloud/reading
Prior to reading Koala Lou
by mem Fox, the educator
accesses children’s
prior knowledge about
experiences with
competitions and with
younger siblings.
Shared response
Educator reads book
again, asks children to
be ready to share how
they would feel if they
were Koala Lou. Educator
writes some of the words
associated with feelings
on a chart.
guided response
Educator asks children
to turn and talk to their
talking Buddy about how
they would feel as Koala
Lou. Educator adds more
words to chart, if they
are generated during this
independent response
children are invited to
draw a picture of koala
lou (or themselves in
similar situation), and
write how koala lou (or
they) felt. sh flt sad. KL
flt hpy wn hr mom hgd
hr. I flt lonely.
Write aloud
Educator models a chart
story of an experience
after a trip to the pet
store. Ms ______ liked the
big snake.
Shared writing
Educator invites a child
to contribute a story,
and asks for help in
identifying how to write
a child’s name or that of a
favourite pet.
interactive writing
Educator invites a child to
come up and write their
own sentence or parts
of it on chart paper or
some words, following the
independent writing
Each child is asked
to write their own
sentence (as able), and
make a picture for a
class big book.
Model Writing
Educator models writing
a thank-you note to the
pet store owner, letting
children hear the thinking
Shared writing
Educator asks children
for input as she continues
to write the letter. “what
letter should i use for
the sound in this word?”,
“how would i say that?”
interactive writing
Educator asks individual
children to write some of
the words in the letter.
independent writing
all children sign the
letter. they are each
encouraged to write
their own response
letters, with pictures, to
the pet store owner.
Educator models the
retelling of a story
with the entire class,
encouraging children to
assume roles.
Educator gets in role
along with interested
children and models
retelling a familiar story
with props.
children put on puppet
play, retelling with props
while the educator
supports and watches
from the side.
children re-enact
stories independently
without educator
educator models literacy
role* at dramatic play
educator assumes
literacy role** at centre,
asks for help.
child assumes literacy
role*** at centre, educator
children assume
literacy role****
** Educator encourages another child to follow her model as a customer and helps child be the ‘receptionist’,
if necessary. Educator models, as necessary, to move the ‘action’ along.
*** children assume roles of customer, receptionist, or beautician/barber, and educator stays on sidelines to
help if necessary.
**** children assume roles independently during activity time.