February 14. 2017

How to Provide Opportunities for Processing Texts: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Comprehending the fullest meaning of a text is the goal every time we read anything. We do not teach comprehension by applying one strategy to one book during one lesson: we help students learn how to focus on the meaning and interpretation of texts all the time, in every instructional context, each instance contributing in different ways to the same complex processing system. Below are some suggestions for you and your colleagues to provide your students with opportunities for processing texts:

1. Bring together a cross-grade-level group of colleagues to think about text experiences. You may want to have them work in small grade-level groups and then share as a whole group.

2. Use large chart paper divided into columns. As a group, consider (1) processing orally presented written texts; (2) processing written texts; and (3) acting on the meaning of texts after reading. These three actions occur across instructional contexts.

3. Have each group use their weekly schedules to discuss a week of instruction in their classroom. Make a list of all the processing opportunities students have in each of the three areas in the three columns on the chart paper.

4. Review the charts. Have the whole group participate in a larger discussion of how these opportunities can be expanded. Emphasize that there are specific ways of teaching for comprehending in each of these settings.


Excerpted from Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency: Thinking, Talking, and Writing About Reading by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

February 13. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 2/13/2017

A learner might make tremendous gains in one area while seeming to almost “stand still” in another. It’s our job to provide these learning opportunities and guide their attention so that learning in one area supports learning in others.

February 10. 2017

What is Fountas & Pinnell Classroom?


There has been a lot of buzz over the last few months about the mysterious Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™. What is it? When will it be out? How can I get my hands on it?! Well it's official. The future of literacy education is finally here! More...

February 7. 2017

10 Ways to Make Letter Learning Effective for Struggling Readers: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

You need to make your instruction count when you are helping struggling readers learn how to look at letters. Here is a list of some general suggestions you can use during word study, reading, or writing. Use these ideas every time there is an opportunity.

1. Be sure that letters are clearly printed in black or dark print on white or cream paper.

2. Be sure that readers are at all times able to see the print in word study lessons or in shared or interactive writing.

3. For beginning readers and writers (and children who are having difficulty), select texts with a consistent and clear font.

4. Use a verbal description of letter formation (the "verbal path") to help children learn features of text.

5. Use a variety of ways to draw children's attention to the features of letters.

6. Provide kinesthetic experiences that help children learn directionality and the distinctive features of letters. (colored plastic letters, making letters in sand or salt, sandpaper letters)

7. Use magnetic letters to help children feel letter features as they sort them and build words.

8. Vary the ways children view letters as they read or write them.

9. Emphasize looking at the letters in words from left to right.

10. Create strong references that will help children keep the letter and a key word beginning with the letter in mind. (Alphabet Linking Chart)

Excerpted from When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.