May 9. 2017

Get Your Students to Level Z with the LLI Teal System

Staggering statistics reveal that more than a million adolescent students will leave high school without the reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college or a career. After years of failure, the emotional roadblocks of those at risk in grades 6-12 are undeniable, and the challenges facing teachers are very real.

"To prevent the grave consequences of illiteracy, struggling adolescent readers need bold teaching moves, highly engaging books, and a renewed sense of agency." ~Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell  

How Can LLI Teal Help?

Students who reach middle and high school with insufficient literacy skills have often suffered years of declining self-esteem along with academic struggle. Inefficient processing as readers has become a habit and they have begun to see themselves as not having hope. LLI Teal offers engaging age-appropriate books that are leveled to gradually build skills without frustration, and the lessons that accompany each book are systematic and fast-paced guiding teachers in productive, efficient use of lesson time, and effective instructional practices. LLI Teal is grounded in research and expertise, and it is designed to correct years of reading failure. LLI Teal affects change. It makes literacy success the only alternative for struggling readers. Here's how:

Engaging Books

The LLI Teal System is made up of beautiful, original books that are sure to capture the attention of your readers. As you move through the lessons, the books gradually increase in difficulty, which minimizes frustration. These books are not just wonderful stories and interesting texts, they were created to engage adolescent students specifically with age-appropriate topics, stunning illustrations, and captivating photography.  There are high-interest nonfiction texts that support close-reading opportunities and deep conversation. These high-quality books will encourage students to talk and write about their reading in meaningful ways.

Efficient Instruction

The LLI Teal System is made up of fast-paced, systematic lessons that enable teachers to provide high-quality instruction. The lessons and tools that comprise this system support teachers in expert decision making by providing level-by-level descriptions and competencies from The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, which will guide teachers in providing high-impact literacy instruction. The system also comes with user-friendly Online Resources that support assessment, instruction, and home and classroom connections. 

Proven Effectiveness

LLI Teal is grounded in research and expertise. It is designed to correct years of reading failure. Here are some of the ways LLI has been proven to be effective and reliable:

  • The systematic approach to LLI has been proven effective through two independent Gold Standard studies of K-2 students. Click here to read the research results.
  • Independent study results show LLI is effective with ELL students, students with a special education designation, and minority students in both rural and suburban settings.
  • Self-reported data obtained via the Heinemann data collection project confirmed significant gains in reading progress.

“To close the achievement gap, struggling readers need accessible, engaging, and relevant texts, and instruction delivered by expert teachers. They need LLI.” ~Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell


~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

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May 9. 2017

10 Suggestions for Working in Guided Reading with Struggling Readers: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Guided reading offers many advantages as you work with students who need extra help. Your support makes it possible for them to learn from their reading just as your stronger readers are doing. Here are ten specific suggestions for working in guided reading with readers who need extra help:

  1. Involve them in guided reading every day. The students at the lower end of the achievement continuum are the ones least likely to gain from independent work; they need the most instruction. Carefully selecting texts for them and providing supportive instruction will enable them gradually to tackle more difficult texts.
  2. Provide appropriate levels of text for them to read. Students can not use effective reading strategies when the texts are too difficult. Use the text gradient to find books that students can read and, at the same time, find interesting.
  3. Guide them to search for information in the text. As students raise questions during discussion, they may need to confirm their hypotheses with information from the text. Teach them how to search for information in the text to find answers to their questions.
  4. Emphasize fluency in reading so that language can power the reading process. Many struggling readers read slowly. Reading slowly interferes with comprehension; however, the slower you read, the harder it is to think of the text as conveying meaning. As students read texts at the appropriate level, you may need to teach fluency. Activities like shared reading, choral reading, readers' theater, poetry sharing, and audio books support fluency.
  5. Give them opportunities to discuss their reading. More than other students, struggling readers need time to talk before reading, while reading, and after reading. The greater their struggle, the more essential the conversation. 
  6. Have them write in connection with reading. Writing is the ideal activity to extend their understanding of what they read; and they learn more about writing at the same time.
  7. Provide opportunities for silent reading. Silent reading is faster than oral reading. It is also easier to comprehend when reading silently.
  8. Provide a few minutes of word work at the end of the guided reading lesson. Using magnetic letters, dry-erase boards, or markers and paper, quickly explore principles that will help struggling readers understand how words work (for example, changing letter clusters with the same rime to make new words).
  9. Be sure that they spend their time reading text. Struggling readers especially need to spend their time actually reading rather than doing all of the extraneous activities that seem to surround reading.
  10. Introduce them to series books in guided reading lessons. Almost all students in the intermediate grades love series books; they are especially good for students who need extra help because they provide extra practice on easy material.

Adapted from Guiding Readers and Writers by Irens C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2001 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann. 

May 4. 2017

RECAP of the 5/4/2017 Twitter Chat with Fountas and Pinnell on Putting Guided Reading into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom

On Thursday, May 4, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell  hosted a Twitter Chat about Guided Reading in anticipation of their exciting new system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom, a first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. People from all over the country chimed in to share their thoughts about this important topic. Followers engaged in a discussion about many different angles of Guided Reading from the tools teachers use to get the most success out of guided reading lesson, to how guided reading propels students toward a literate life.  Some favorite tweets included:

"In a school that is rich with literacy there is one critical element: classrooms filled with good books."
"The goal of guided reading is to engage in strategic actions they can apply again the next day and thereafter."
"Teaching students to read is the challenge and responsibility of every teacher who enters the profession." 

To read the whole chat, click the link below, and don't forget to sign up for the LIVE (free) webinar with Fountas and Pinnell, "Put Guided Reading into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™" on 5/10/2017 at 4:00 p.m. EST here.

May 2. 2017

5 Steps to Preparing an Introduction to a Text for Guided Reading Lessons: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

You will become more efficient in planning text introductions when you have a great deal of experience. You will also get to know your book collection well over time and will be able to anticipate many of the challenges in the texts. You will also be able to add to your knowledge of the text and your knowledge of the particular readers you are teaching. Using books with many students will help you predict the range of response you can predict. You will find your own way of planning but consider these five steps to preparing your introductions to texts:

  1. Read the text, thinking about how the book works, the messages of the text, and the other text characteristics.
  2. Review the behaviors and understandings in The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, noting what the readers control and need to learn how to control. Consider learning opportunities in the lesson and how you can attend to a few opportunities in the orientation.
  3. Write a brief opening statement that will immediately engage the readers in thinking about the topic or story.
  4. List page numbers where you mean to take the readers with a brief phrase or note to remind you of what you want to help them notice. [You might also place sticky notes on a few pages.]
  5. Leave the readers with one or two things to think about that will drive them into the text and may initiate the discussion following the reading.
Adapted from Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.