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June 11. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Build a Culture of Empathy and Kindness in the Classroom

One of the hardest things for students to learn is that other people have different perspectives and that they need to understand them. Becoming aware of the feelings of others is especially difficult for young children because, developmentally, they are centered on themselves. School is their opportunity to learn that others have feelings to consider, that kindness is valued, and that they can feel more confident and powerful if they help others.

Some intermediate/middle students have not learned how to feel (or at least express) empathy for or kindness toward other students. You cannot undo the events of their lives or what they have learned or not learned, but you can help them start down the road to becoming positive members of the community. A feeling of collaborative ownership and responsibility in the classroom and school will go a long way toward creating empathetic members of that community. Model and even “act out” the behaviors you want students to use in an automatic way. We caution against moralistic, “preachy” lessons that have no connection to real life. Involving students in the cooperative solving of real classroom problems provides an opportunity to demonstrate empathy and kindness daily.

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.

June 7. 2018

FAQ Friday: Is Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ aligned to the Common Core?

Q: Is Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ aligned to the Common Core?

A: Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ operationalizes and is fundamentally rooted in the behaviors, understandings, and goals of The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum. The Literacy Continuum is aligned to the Common Core. This document is organized to show the close connection between each of the continua in The Literacy Continuum and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy. 

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


June 6. 2018

9 Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

Summer Slide is a term that has become all-too popular among educators. It’s a term that was created to describe when students return from summer break reading at a lower level than they did when they left the previous school year. We know that Summer Slide happens when students don’t practice their reading or writing over the summer, but it actually starts during the school year. If students don’t get hooked on reading in the classroom, they aren’t going to continue reading in the summer. So how can we prevent the Summer Slide? Here are some ideas.

1. Look for ways that books can be provided to children during the summer. For example, you might work with the public library to have a public library/parent night to make sure families have library cards and are aware of services.  

2. Invite families for pizza once a month during the school year, including a book swap or a book giveaway. Share a couple read-alouds to kick off the event.

3. Offer a school bookmobile service to bring books to students’ neighborhoods. You may be able to provide this service with donated funds.

4. Work with other teachers to develop a daily calendar to send home with popular book titles, writing suggestions, and reading activities. Include an interesting bookmark with the calendar that has a place for kids to list favorite titles. Make sure it is posted online and is easily accessible. Encourage kids to mark their favorite book they've read on the calendar and bring it to school the first day in fall.

5. Do email blasts weekly across the summer reminding parents to read to and with their children. Offer book recommendations and reviews or reminders of book-centered activities at local bookstores.

6. Take turns among staff holding a summer book club. Children will love seeing their friends and favorite teachers to talk about books!

7. Schedule “meet up at the library” days during the summer with parents and children. Students will love to see their parents check out books for themselves and they will notice that they are readers as well.

8. Make sure that all teachers have effective training in assessments being used and that reliability is well-established so there is no doubt the final level recorded for school year and passed on to the next teacher is accurate.

9. And probably the most successful preventative is skillful, effective instruction all year long that does not focus on levels but on engagement in the exciting world of books. This includes lots of read-alouds and talk around books; lots of choice for independent reading, and literacy nights to educate parents in how they can support their children.  

What we dream of is for students to burst back into the classroom in the fall talking about their favorite books they read over the summer. We need to make it easy for them to find the right books that will make that happen. When we have really hooked students as readers and writers, they don’t stop reading and writing because it is summer. 

What have you done at your school to prevent Summer Slide? Share it on our Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Page or the members-only Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

Join the fastest growing community in the field of literacy education. Get your free membership and stay up to date on the latest news and resources from Fountas and Pinnell at www.fountasandpinnell.com 

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/ 
June 4. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Support English Learners in Book Clubs

English learners benefit greatly from discussion after reading. They have an authentic reason to put their thinking into words and to communicate with others. Prior to the book club, you may wish to meet with individual English learners to give them an opportunity to put their ideas into words and try out new language. If, during the book club, you see signs that a student does not understand the language of the discussion, model restating an idea in natural, simple sentences. When possible, using clear gestures and pictures may support and clarify meaning as well.

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.

June 1. 2018

Ask Meli! May, 2018

Summer is almost here! Meli has been wrapping up the school year by reading lots and lots of your letters! She hopes you keep writing to her during the summer!

Keep reading to see her answers to students at Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School in Glenville, NY.

Q: Dear Meli, My favroite book is Meli at the Pet Shop. Does Meli have a brother or sister? Meli do you behave? -Anthony

: Hi Anthony! I'm so happy to hear you like my books and I loved your questions! I am an only animal, so that means I do not have any brothers or sisters. And I try to behave, but sometimes I chase rabbits even though I'm not supposed to. Keep reading! Woof! Meli

Q: Dear Meli, My favorite book is Taking Care of Meli. What is your vet's name? How many tricks can you do? -Gabby

: Hi Gabby! Thank you so much for your questions! My vet's name when I had surgery was Dr. Karen. She took good care of me when I hurt my knee! When I went to dog school I learned sit, come, slow down, jump, stay and paw. Keep reading! Woof! Meli

Q: Dear Meli, My favorite Meli book is Meli at School. Do you like going for walks? Do you like milkbones? -Grayson Isabella

: Hi Grayson Isabella! Thank you for your letter! I love going for walks! There are so many fun things to sniff! I like dog cookies, but my favorite treat is cantaloupe! Keep reading! Woof! Meli

Q: Dear Meli, My favorite Meli book is Meli at the Pet Shop. What is Meli's favorite toy? Where are Meli's parents and what are their names? -Fredrick

: Hi Fredrick! I loved reading your letter! My favorite toys are my red ball and my rubber chicken! They are so much fun to play with! I live with Ms. Fountas and sometimes she will play fetch with me! Keep reading! Woof! Meli

Meli wants to know what books are on your summer reading list! You can let her know, along with other questions, by sending a letter to Meli c/o The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801. And Tweet your questions to @FountasPinnell with #FPAskMeli.

See you soon!

~Meli and The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

Join the fastest growing community in the field of literacy education. Get your free membership and stay up to date on the latest news and resources from Fountas and Pinnell at www.fountasandpinnell.com

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/