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August 8. 2017

How to Test Students' Knowledge of Vocabulary

While the best measure of students’ ability is to observe them while reading continuous text, you can also learn much about their word-solving strategies by having them read individual words. Certainly students should be able to recognize frequently encountered words automatically and unconsciously. You can create your own informal assessments to detect whether students can recognize and/or pronounce words in isolation.

You can also create inventories that will provide information about their knowledge of vocabulary. To begin:
  1. Create a list of words. Use a graded list, take words from a basal series, or pull words from content areas.
  2. Ask the student to read each word, use it in a sentence, explain the meaning, or provide a synonym or antonym. For a written test, you can have them match words with meanings, synonyms, or antonyms or provide multiple-choice answers.
  3. Look at the results. What do students know about words? What kinds of connections do they make? What can you learn from partially correct responses? The answers will help you plan your word study program and inform your work with students in guided and independent reading.
Keep in mind that there are many ways of knowing words, and any test of words in isolation can only provide limited information.

From Guiding Readers & Writers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2001 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
August 1. 2017

4 Tools to Support Shared Reading Instruction

Every teacher needs tools to support their instruction. In shared reading, the following key tools will be helpful to support your lesson as you read and teach from an enlarged text on an easel. You may wish to store these materials nearby for easy access.

  • Plain pointer: A thin dowel rod with the tip painted red or with a pencil eraser on the end works well for drawing children’s eyes to the print and features that you are discussing.
  • Wikki Stix®: These sticky plastic sticks can be formed into letters or used to underline or circle words or letters. They adhere to the pages of a book, are easily removed, and can be reused.
  • Highlighter tape: You may wish to have several colors of tape to help readers identify various elements of print. For example, you may wish to use different colors to draw attention to various spelling patterns or types of punctuation.
  • Masking card: Available in Online Resources in various sizes, masking cards bring sharp attention to words within continuous text. The mask places a frame around a word so that children can isolate and concentrate on it.

For a complete list of tools you may wish to have on hand, see page 26 in the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide (available Fall 2017) or pages 65–66 in Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades.

From Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

July 28. 2017

School is Starting Soon! Are You Ready for Phonics Instruction?

For many educators, phonics instruction is an integral part of their overall design for literacy education in their classrooms. Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ offers a variety of ways to implement phonics, spelling, and word study within many different instructional contexts. 

Below is a rundown of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ resources that incorporate phonics, spelling, and word study, as well as what it looks like to teach with these valuable resources in the classroom.

Introducing the NEW Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System

In August of this year, Fountas and Pinnell will release a new, enhanced version of their 2003 resource, Phonics Lessons, called the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System for grades K and 1 (grades 2 and 3 to follow in 2018). More...