May 30. 2017

4 Ways to Provide Reading and Writing Workshops in Limited Time Periods: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Middle schools are usually departmentalized, with teachers working with different groups of students throughout the day. This kind of schedule can make it difficult for English and language arts teachers to teach comprehension and to get to know their students well as readers and writers in a short period once a day.

If you are locked into a fifty- or sixty- minute period and must teach all aspects of language arts and literature within it, you’ll need to be flexible. Here are some options for providing reading and writing workshops in limited time periods:

  1. Conduct both reading and writing workshops each day. Consider linking the reading and writing work through specific units of study some of the time and promoting self-selected reading and writing topics in between.
  2. Alternate the reading and writing workshop. Have the reading workshop for one or two weeks to include interactive read-aloud and independent reading, with minilessons sometimes focused on a particular genre, author, topic, literary element, or the reading process. Follow up with one to two weeks of the writing workshop to focus on units of study such as writer’s craft, convention, writing process, writing genre, author study, or topic focus. Specific reasons or genres for writing about reading are provided (e.g., letters, two-column entry, literacy essay). During those weeks students do not have reading or writing workshops, but students continue to read and work on writing at home.
  3. Provide a reading workshop for one quarter and then a writing workshop for one quarter. In addition to self-selected reading and writing, include several units of study. For example, focus on reading memoirs, personal narratives, and informational texts in one quarter and follow with writing in these genres the next quarter. Students continue to read and work on writing at home.
  4. Conduct a language/word study workshop to include word study, interactive read-aloud, and a poetry workshop on Monday. Follow with a reading workshop and a writing workshop on each of the other four days of the week.
From Teaching for Comprehending & Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

May 23. 2017

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


This is the first in a series of blogs on teaching phonics with Fountas & Pinnell. Check back next week when we take a deeper dive into how phonics instruction works in other Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Resources

Say hello to organized, systematic instruction with the new Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System! In August of 2017, Fountas and Pinnell will release an updated, enhanced version of their 2003 resource, Phonics Lessons. See details below to get a closer look. More...
May 23. 2017

6 Ways to Help Children Learn Reading through Name Charts: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

A name is very powerful. It is often the first example of a written word a child sees. Name charts can help children learn their own names and the letters in the names of their friends, notice that names begin with an uppercase letter, and make connections to other words that have the same first letter or similar word parts.

Here are 6 ideas for quick games you can play using a name chart:

  1. Read the names in a shared way as you use a pointer to point to each (in order or randomly).
  2. Have children line up, quickly touch their own names when they come to the chart, and then sit down.
  3. “I’m thinking of someone who has a name that begins with M. Who can come up and find it?”
  4. Deal out cards or slips of paper on which children’s names are written. Call the names in alphabetical order. The child who has the name you called puts it in a pocket chart.
  5. Place a set of name cards at the word study center. Have the children sort the names by first letter or match pairs of name cards.
  6. Clap each name and have children tell the number of syllables they hear.

From When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2009 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

May 19. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 5/19/17

All students need consistent and clear messages across instructional contexts. Our belief is that the curriculum must have a coherent design and a coherent underlying literacy theory rather than simply being a mix of “this and that,” without an eye to how different parts work together to form a cohesive whole.