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April 30. 2018

Teacher Tip: Effective Practices for Book Talks

Book talks are brief introductions – teasers or commercials" of sorts – to new books. Book talks can remind students of the wide variety of books available to them in your classroom library. Here are a few effective practices for book talks:

  • If books are part of a series, you may want to gather several or all the titles in the series and do one book talk, as the books will be similar in style and/or have the same characters. 
  • Deliver minilessons that teach students to make book talks of their own. 
  • Make your approach to each book talk unique, e.g., begin with a question, read an interesting sentence, read the opening, read the back cover, or share an illustration.
From The Literacy Quick Guide: A Reference Tool for Responsive Literacy Teaching by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
April 26. 2018

FAQ Friday: Do the Shared Reading Books in FPC Have Levels?

Q: Do the Shared Reading books in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ have levels?

A: No. The Shared Reading books are not leveled. Leveled books are ONLY meant to be used in guided reading instruction and to guide students during independent reading.

In the early years, shared reading provides easy entry into behaving like a reader. It helps students understand how to find and use information from print—directional movement, one-to-one correspondence, words and letters, and the whole act of reading and understanding a story or nonfiction text. As readers become more proficient, shared reading continues to offer opportunities for more advanced reading work than students can do independently. Supported by the group, they can take on more complex texts; and, with your teaching, they can learn a great deal which they can then apply in guided and independent reading.

The guided reading books in FPC were created and leveled according to the text characteristics in the Guided Reading section of The Literacy Continuum. The guided reading section is organized by the F&P Text Level Gradient™, A–Z+. The Shared Reading books were created according to the text characteristics in the Shared Reading section of The Literacy Continuum, which is organized by grade level, not by levels according to the gradient. The characteristics upon which the Shared Reading books were created are different from that of the guided reading characteristics so they cannot be leveled according to the gradient.

The accompanying smaller books should only be used for independent reading, not guided. The children are meant to be encouraged to reread them after the Shared Reading lesson in order to practice. They cannot be used in guided reading because they are not created according to guided reading characteristics, and therefore would not correspond with any level on the F&P Text Level Gradient™.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

April 26. 2018

Getting Kindergarteners to Level D

In 2012, as the result of ongoing data collection, changes were made to the recommended grade-level goals on the F&P Text Level Gradient™. Instead of kindergarteners completing the grade at an instructional level C the gradient shows them exiting at an instructional level D. Since this change, many kindergarten teachers struggle with how to meet this goal. But it’s important to know that it is possible! Below are some suggestions on how to accomplish this goal in practical ways that also instills an absolute joy of reading and writing.

A Literacy-Rich Day

Literacy should be woven through everything you do from the minute your children walk in the door. For example, as soon as children arrive for the day, they fall into a routine of finding and flipping over a name card in a pocket chart to indicate attendance. More...

April 23. 2018

Teacher Tip: 5 Effective Practices for Teaching with Text Sets

A text set is a collection of two or more books that can be connected because they have common features. They connect books in a way that helps students build specific understandings from book to book. Here are five effective practices for teaching with text sets:

  • Texts are versatile. A single text can be part of many different sets. A text set need not be a static collection. 
  • After students experience a text set, encourage them to suggest other titles that are connected. 
  • Keep lists of potential text sets rather than assembling them physically to allow more flexibility in how you use individual books. If you have a list, and a system for storing books for quick retrieval, text sets can easily be assembled when needed. 
  • Keep an eye out for new titles to add to your text sets. 
  • Pull from text sets clear examples of particular characteristics for reading and writing minilessons.

From The Literacy Quick Guide: A Reference Tool for Responsive Literacy Teaching by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

April 20. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning

On Thursday, April 19th, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning. People across the country joined to share their thoughts about the inquiry process.

Some favorite tweet included:

When students are fully engaged and feel a sense of joy in their own learning, they achieve a higher level of literacy.
You can tell students what to notice about books, but learning is much more powerful if they take the stance of an inquirer into literature.
By combining books in text sets, you make it possible for students to look across several texts and construct deeper understandings than they would by encountering one text after another in a random way.

Read the full chat below. 

April 20. 2018

FAQ Friday: Are There Plans to Add Books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System?

Q: Are there plans to add books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System?

A: There are no plans to add books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. We feel that the two books at each level (one fiction, one nonfiction) are all that is needed. If you use a book for an assessment conference at the beginning of the year, the child will likely be reading at a different level by the next conference interval. If for some reason this is not the case, use the alternate book at that level. Furthermore, if a book is too hard for a child, you should discontinue the reading. You can use this book again if the child read very little of it months before.

If you are finding that a student is not progressing, take a look at The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum for that level to see in what behaviors the student may be lacking. Then, try and focus your teaching around cultivating those behaviors.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>