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February 6. 2018

How to Transition Younger Children to Independence

In grade two or even grade three, you may have students who are just beginning to sustain attention to texts and have little experience managing themselves independently. You may want to structure the independent work period so that it includes three independent tasks:

  • Reading books of their choice.
  • Writing in a reader’s notebook.
  • Completing one carefully designed word study/phonics activity with a partner.

The word-study activity can be an outcome of the phonics/word-study minilesson that you teach at another part of the day. These activities can be individual or involve partners or a group of four using quiet voices. Students can learn to complete three tasks during the alloted time.

When students are called to the guided reading group during independent work time, they set aside their materials and go to the group. Then, they return to whatever they were doing. This kind of transition may not be needed very long as students begin to build stamina for reading for increasing amounts of time.

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.

February 2. 2018

FAQ Friday - 2/2/18

Q: Is the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment standardized assessment?

A: Yes. The administration, coding, scoring, and interpretation are completed using standardized procedures to ensure reliable results. We expect that once you get the standardized results, you will review each child’s data to make good judgments for instruction. Good teacher decisions based on data are essential.

January 30. 2018

Ask Meli! January, 2018

We hope everyone is settling back to school after the holiday break, and discovering lots of new books! Meli continues to receive wonderful letters from her fans. She is always so impressed with how well the letters are written, and she enjoys looking on a map to see where her fans are from. If you can find Massachusetts on a map, you will see where Meli lives! 

Here are some questions from her friends at Hilltop Elementary School in Glen Burnie, MD.

Dear Meli,

Q: My name is Darlin. I go to Hilltop Elementary in Maryland. I just read Meli at the Vet. Were you sad in the vet? Love, Darlin

: Hi Darlin! I was a little nervous when I went to the vet. I know the vet helps me stay healthy, so I'm happy that she takes care of me! I really loved how colorful your letter was! Keep reading! Woof! –Meli More...

January 30. 2018

7 Tips for Engaging Struggling Readers in Independent Reading

As they engage in independent reading, students have many opportunities to process texts with ease and understanding. You'll want to guide struggling readers as they select books for themselves, but ultimately they must have the motivation of choice. Initially, they may wish to pretend to read harder books, but this is completely non-productive. Of all the students in the class, it is most important for struggling readers to successfully engage in independent processing. Here are several suggestions:

  1. Determine students' reading levels.
  2. Include in the classroom collection a good selection of books that are within students' reading ranges. Look for books that are interesting, and include a good variety. Informational texts may be especially helpful.
  3. Emphasize in minilessons the importance of selecting books that are interesting and "just right" for readers at the time.
  4. Create a supportive social environment in which individual selections are valued.
  5. Present both higher- and lower-level books in your "book talks" (short reviews to interest students in books).
  6. For students having special difficulty, pre-select some books from which these students then have a limited choice.
  7. Use individual conferences to support student reading and help students "rehearse" what to write about or talk about relative to their reading.

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.
January 26. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: Choice and Why It Matters

On Thursday, January 26th, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on Choice and Why It Matters. People from all over the country to join the conversation on the importance of student choice in the classroom. Some favorite tweets included:

Independent reading is really the goal of all reading instruction. What children can do for themselves is what matters most, and they become more proficient in reading on their own by engaging and thinking and talking about books with others. More...
January 26. 2018

FAQ Friday - 1/26/18

Q: What if my Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) group reaches the end of a level and I am not sure they are ready to move to the next level?

A: Look carefully at the recent reading records. Then look at the first lesson for the next higher level. If you think they need more time, “borrow” from the same level in one of the other LLI systems. If you don’t have the other systems, then find more books on the same level and create your own lessons using the same lesson framework. Review the phonics and word work from the level you are just finishing. Be sure you are teaching hard for areas that are holding them back. When children are ready to move up in the text level, recent reading records should show (1) high accuracy rates, (2) evidence of fluent reading (after level C), and (3) good comprehension.