April 4. 2017

Six Ways to Guide Student Choice in Literature Study: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Selecting a book is a complex task, but one that is well worth learning. As adults, we select books that offer opportunities to relax and enjoy ourselves. While we don't specifically choose books to increase our reading skills, we may challenge ourselves to get to know a new author or genre. Students, too, might want to learn to read a new author or genre or increase the variety of their reading. Generally, however, they select books just as we do: they choose one that looks interesting. 

Initially, they may not know how to choose well, so you will want to teach them how to think about selecting a book that works best for them. Here are six ways you can show students how to choose books.

  1. Listen to a book talk and match characteristics of the book to their interests.
  2. Examine book covers, cover copy, and illustrations.
  3. Sample a bit of the text to get a feel for the language and the author's style.
  4. Think about the topic, considering their interests and previous knowledge.
  5. Think about how the book matches their own reading background and experience and whether they would need to listen to an audio version or another person read it to them.
  6. Consider whether the book will offer challenges or opportunities to expand their knowledge or skill.

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

April 3. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 4/3/2017

We emphasize that small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support.

March 31. 2017

Ask Meli! March, 2017

Meli is really enjoying all of her mail!! Your letters were wonderfully written and she could tell that you all have been working hard on your reading and writing. You must have some great teachers! She has received many questions from all over the country. Here are a few examples.

Below are questions sent in from Riley, Emoneet, Ealiyah, and Caihey from Blue Jay Bird Elementary School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin!

Q: Dear Meli, I like your books. What is your favorite toy? In Taking Care of Meli, I like the part about the chicken toothpaste. It was funny! I like Meli books. - Riley 

: Haha! Yes, the chicken toothpaste was funny! My favorite toy this week is Chicken. Sometimes I’m more in the mood for my ball. Usually when the weather is nice. That was my favorite last week. When the weather gets dreary, I like to cuddle with Chicken. 

Q: Dear Meli, Meli I love your books. Who is your mom? I love your book and my favorite book is Meli at the Pet Shop. - Emoneet

: The mother who gave birth to me was a West Highland Terrier just like me! Then Ms. Fountas adopted me when I was little puppy and gave me a warm, loving home with lots of treats and snuggles!

Q: Dear Meli, Where were you born? Meli at The Vet is my favorite book. – Ealiyah

: I was born in Massachusetts near the city of Boston. Do you know where that is? It’s on the east coast, far from Wisconsin, but you can find it on a map!

Q: Dear Meli, Thank you for your books. I like Taking Care of Meli and Meli at the Pet Shop. What's your favorite presents? I love Meli books! - Caihy

: You are very welcome for the books, Caihy!! Tell your teacher to look out for new Meli books coming soon! My favorite presents are new stuffed toys, treats, and hugs!

Meli would love to know what your plans for Spring Break are! You can let her know in your letters along with any more questions, so keep them coming! We will have a new post each month. Please be sure to send them to Meli c/o The Fountas & Pinnell Team, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801. And don't forget to 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/  
March 28. 2017

Six Methods of Teaching Read-alouds to PreK Children: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Many children have gone to daycare or been part of play groups, but for some, prekindergarten is their first experience with a group read-aloud. With careful teaching, even young children new to school can follow these simple routines. Again, you will find methods of teaching that fit your class, but here's a general approach that is effective:

  1. Demonstrate the behavior yourself. Describe it in words that are simple. Tell children why it is important.
  2. Have two or three children demonstrate the behavior while the others watch (maybe in a circle). Have everyone clap when they do it well.
  3. Have everyone demonstrate the behavior and clap for themselves.
  4. Insist on the behavior every time with gentle reminders and more demonstration as needed. (If you constantly allow deviations, children will become confused about your expectations.)
  5. Give specific praise to the children when they demonstrate the expected behavior.
  6. Use positive commands whenever possible; tell children what to so rather than what not to do.

Adapted from Literacy Beginnings by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2011 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

March 23. 2017

Engaging Books: The Heart of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

It all begins with high-quality books. Before a lesson was conceptualized, or one word of instruction was written, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) had already been years into development. Fountas and Pinnell, along with their talented teams of writers and skilled editors, were pouring their energy into the creation of the most powerful, authentic texts, as well as choosing the most fascinating trade books on the market to be the heart of this new system. After all, how can we teach students to love reading if we don’t give them beautiful, engaging books to read?

“We see classrooms simply ALIVE with rich, authentic, high-quality texts.” –Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

In order to have a successful literacy system, teachers need a collection of rich, powerful texts.  Below is a breakdown of the books that are included in FPC. 

Interactive Read-Aloud Books

The collection of books in the Interactive Read-Aloud context of FPC is made up of the very best, age- and grade-appropriate trade books. 120 titles per grade were chosen with very specific criteria in mind: to promote the joy of reading, expand vocabulary, and nurture the ability to think, talk, and write about texts that will fully engage students’ interests. These books are meant to stir the students’ imaginations and enhance their knowledge of the story without having to think too much about decoding words or addressing punctuation.

Shared Reading Books

Teachers need a rich variety of large-print books to engage readers in shared reading. The books in the Shared Reading context of FPC are really quite special. They are all original texts (enlarged and accompanying smaller versions) that are sure to capture the attention of the students with vibrant illustrations and interesting stories.  Some even have special features, such as flaps, cutouts, and foldouts. With 200 titles spanning over grades PreK-3, these books are meant to nurture students’ ability to construct meaning in a supported context so they can enjoy reading and learn critical concepts of how texts work. You won’t find books like this anywhere else. 

Guided Reading Books

If you love the wonderful books in the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Systems (LLI), then you will love the leveled books in the Guided Reading context of FPC. These powerful, authentic, original texts were created with the same attention and care that went into creating the LLI books. Each book was made under the careful supervision of Fountas and Pinnell themselves. The exquisiteness that makes up this collection doesn’t stop at the high-quality illustrations and images, these books are full of charming stories and fascinating texts. There are 50 titles in each level from A to Z on the F&P Text Level Gradient™. These texts are meant to build each student’s ability to process increasingly challenging books with fluency and comprehension.

Independent Reading Books

The purpose and the goal of a literacy system is to create lifelong readers who have the power of choice and enjoy the pleasure of reading. The collection of books in the Independent Reading context of FPC is made up of carefully curated children’s books that provide students with the opportunity to develop tastes as readers, and to read a large number of self-selected books independently. There are 150 titles per grade in K-2, and 200 titles per grade in 3-6 in this context of FPC. 

Book Clubs and Literature Discussion Books

The books in the Book Club/Literature Discussion context of FPC provides students with the opportunity to bring students together for in-depth discussions of captivating trade books that they have read in order to extend their thinking and learn about themselves as readers. These are books that engage the thinking of your students and that they find relevant to their own lives. There are 32 titles per grade in K-3, and 48 titles per grade at grades 4-6. They will also be made accessible as audiobooks to those students who can’t read them independently. 

“Our job as teachers is to assure our students fall in love with books and develop a passion for authors, illustrators, genres, and topics. So the first business of our teaching is to assure our students want to read,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

Keep an eye out for release dates and more information on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ here to learn how you can have a successful literacy system with this collection of rich, powerful texts.  

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann. 

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/