February 7. 2017

10 Ways to Make Letter Learning Effective for Struggling Readers: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

You need to make your instruction count when you are helping struggling readers learn how to look at letters. Here is a list of some general suggestions you can use during word study, reading, or writing. Use these ideas every time there is an opportunity.

1. Be sure that letters are clearly printed in black or dark print on white or cream paper.

2. Be sure that readers are at all times able to see the print in word study lessons or in shared or interactive writing.

3. For beginning readers and writers (and children who are having difficulty), select texts with a consistent and clear font.

4. Use a verbal description of letter formation (the "verbal path") to help children learn features of text.

5. Use a variety of ways to draw children's attention to the features of letters.

6. Provide kinesthetic experiences that help children learn directionality and the distinctive features of letters. (colored plastic letters, making letters in sand or salt, sandpaper letters)

7. Use magnetic letters to help children feel letter features as they sort them and build words.

8. Vary the ways children view letters as they read or write them.

9. Emphasize looking at the letters in words from left to right.

10. Create strong references that will help children keep the letter and a key word beginning with the letter in mind. (Alphabet Linking Chart)

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

February 3. 2017

Ask Meli! February, 2017

Meli received many, many questions from all over the country!! She was so excited and touched to read through all of the wonderfully written letters, and look at the pictures that some of you drew. She was most excited to know that students enjoy reading, and even better that they enjoy reading her books!

Below are questions sent in from Contessa, Amari, Wyatt, and Kendall from Parkside Elementary in Monroe, WI!

Q: I love your books and like your books! How come you are in the books with Sam and Jessie? ~Contessa

: Thank you, Contessa, for loving and liking my books! Sam and Jessie are my friends, but I only visit them a few times a year. They let me in on all of the adventures they have together. We play a lot! Some of their best adventures happen when I'm there, so we make books about them. And I get to be in the books too!

Q: I love your books! What kind of treats do you eat? ~Amari

: Thank you for loving my books, Amari! I love all kinds of treats. Cantaloupe is definite a favorite, but I also like to munch on baby carrots. And, of course, I LOVE doggie cookies!

Q: I love your books! Are you ever going to be in a book with Orson and Taco? ~Wyatt

: I'm so glad you love the Meli books. I love them too! There are no immediate plans to be in a book with Orson and Taco, but you never know! Maybe someday.

Q: I love your books! How many books are you in? ~Kendall

: Including the Sam and Jessie books, I would have to say about a dozen. But keep a lookout for MORE Meli books coming soon in the new system Irene and her friend, Gay, are working on, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom. Tell your teacher to click here to learn more about that.

Meli would love to know what kind of books you like to read! You can let her know in your letters along with anymore 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

February 2. 2017

Announcing Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

The Future of Literacy Education is HERE!

Heinemann and Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ are pleased to announce the soon-to-be-released Fountas & Pinnell Classroom, a cohesive, multi-text approach to literacy instruction for all students in grades PreK–6. The System is designed to support whole-group, small-group and independent learning opportunities including: interactive read-aloud, reading minilessons, shared reading, phonics/spelling/word study lessons, guided reading, book clubs, and independent reading collections.  Fountas & Pinnell Classroom is rich with authentic texts, lessons or conferring cards, minilessons and professional tools & learning for a systematic, transformative approach to literacy instruction.

Click here to learn how Fountas & Pinnell Classroom  will lift students' learning beyond the walls of the classroom with texts and a blueprint for teaching that create authentic experiences in reading, thinking, talking, writing, and reflecting to realize what it truly means to live a literate life.