The ability to read widely, think critically and strategically, and communicate is essential. As a result, the Ransom Middle School Reading Department believes that literacy is critical to a child’s education and promotes an appreciation for lifelong learning and a love of reading. We believe in a balanced approach to teaching literacy. This approach allows for substantial time for authentic reading, writing and discussion. A balanced approach to literacy instruction is characterized by the following research based practices: explicitly modeling reading and writing strategies, providing extensive time for purposeful reading, writing, speaking and listening experiences, providing opportunities which promote critical and creative discussions around a shared text and using on-going and varied assessment tools to differentiate instruction.