November 29. 2016

Nurture Young Learners’ Curiosity through Inquiry, A tip from Fountas and Pinnell on Early Literacy Learning

All children need the opportunity for play and inquiry. A rich and joyful early literacy environment in which reading, writing, and talking are part of play, often become play. We must remember that children, especially young children, learn through play. Play enhances language and literacy learning. When your teaching is inquiry-oriented, you enable young children to learn how to learn, investigate and discover new understandings, and pose wonderings about the possibilities.

 

With two kinds of inquiry, information seeking and wondering, children are immersed in constructive learning that results in an exciting, meaningful expansion of knowledge that continues through life. Fountas and Pinnell discuss the inquiry process in depth in their book, Literacy Beginnings.

 

Try these four simple steps of the inquiry process to guide your teaching and propel literacy learning:

1. Playful Exploration (Notice, Wonder)

2. Define Questions (Plan for Observing)

3. Find Out (Investigate, Explore)

4. Share Learning (Discuss, Draw Conclusions)

November 25. 2016

A Level is a Teacher's Tool, NOT a Child's Label


It’s hard enough to be a kid. They have lots of things to worry about: parents, friends, sports, grades, etc. Reading can be an escape from those worries, just like it is for adults; it’s a way to relax and plunge yourself into someone else’s world for a little while.  But what happens when a child finds out that they’re not reading on the “same level” as the other children? What does that even mean to them? It’s not good, they know that. Reading has now become another worry to add to the pile of worries. More...


November 22. 2016

Provide a Daily Dose of Interactive Read-Aloud, A tip from Fountas and Pinnell to Engage Readers in Thinking and Talking about Texts

Interactive read-aloud requires highly intentional teaching. As you are choosing books for your read-aloud, above all, be sure that the story, language, and illustrations are highly engaging to children. In using interactive read-aloud as a teaching approach, you and your students will have productive conversations about books if you follow these steps.                                                             

 

Try them in your next read-aloud.

1. Plan opening remarks: engage students’ active thinking

2. Stop to invite quick comments during reading: promote student thinking within, beyond, and about the text.

3. Discuss the text after reading: attend to students overall meaning, implications for learning, and attention to writer’s craft.

4. Plan an engaging, inquiry-based activity following reading (art, writing, drawing, etc.).

 

Interactive read-aloud grows shared literary knowledge. The read-aloud levels the playing field, ensuring that readers in the classroom experience rich, interesting texts that are age and grade appropriate, regardless of their independent and instructional reading levels. All students can think and talk about the text even if they can’t read it for themselves.

 

Excerpted with adaptations from Literacy Beginnings and Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency

November 18. 2016

November Twitter Chat on Guided Reading, Second Edition, Part 1

On Thursday, November 17th, authors Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted part one of a Twitter chat on Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition. People from all over the country logged in to discuss important topics such as, why observation and interpretation of students' literacy behaviors are so critical to high-impact teaching within guided reading. Teachers tweeted about how they use responsive teaching in their own classrooms to elevate their guided reading lessons, while Fountas and Pinnell offered words of advice and encouragement such as, "Instead of expecting students to be where you are, you have to bring the teaching to where they are."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) for part two of the Guided Reading Twitter chat with Fountas and Pinnell. More...