December 21. 2016

Season's Greetings from Fountas and Pinnell!

Happy Holidays!

The best part of the holiday season is acknowledging those who make our lives meaningful. We want to take the time to recognize your dedication to literacy education throughout the year, and for all you do to enhance the literacy lives of your students.

As 2016 draws to a close, we have been thinking about how important it is to celebrate the progress of our students and the growing expertise each of us has been able to achieve. This may be a time for our educator teams to recognize achievements and set new goals for 2017 so they are fresh for the New Year to start. We wish you all some time for reflection, renewal, special time with dear ones, and a world of good wishes this holiday season.

Warmest holiday wishes, 

Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team




December 20. 2016

Spark Students’ Interest via Book Talks: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

Reading is thinking, and students’ “talk” reveals their thinking. Talking about books is a way to activate students’ interest and introduce them to new texts they might otherwise miss. Think of a book talk as a brief commercial for a book. Book talks are short—you simply want to whet the students’ appetites. 

Consider the following when selecting books for book talks:

  • New books by authors whom the students love.
  • Another book by an author whose book you’ve read aloud.
  • “Best-selling” titles that are popular with the age group.
  • Books on issues or topics that interest the students.
  • Books that introduce a new author, genre, or illustrator.

Book talks enable you to help your students get to know authors, genres and books that appeal to them, and thus extend their literate lives. Excerpted from Guiding Readers and Writers. 

December 14. 2016

Daily Lit Bit - 12/14/2016

Close observation of reading behaviors enables teachers to teach the child, not the book or program. The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum. © 2017 by Fountas and Pinnell.

December 13. 2016

Help Students Make Good Reading Choices: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell on Independent Reading

Your role in independent reading is to ensure that students consistently select books they can read with understanding and fluency, and to have conversations with them about those books. You may be tempted to prescribe book choices, but this can result in a mechanical approach to reading as a “task.” Without genuine choice they will never experience the authentic role of a reader. At the same time, the ability to choose appropriate books is not something you can expect students to know how to do. It is something you need to teach. Communicate to students that choosing a just-right book, not a difficult book, is the expectation for independent reading. 

Teach students these 7 ways of judging a book choice:
Decide if the book is just right to read independently by reading a little at the beginning or middle
Think about the topic of the book to see if it peaks your interest
Read a bit of the book to get a feel for the author’s style and the language
Ask peers/teachers for recommendations
Look at the book cover, back cover, book flaps and illustrations
Think about the author and what you may already know about the author
Give the book a good chance.

Excerpted from LLI Red System Choice Library Guide to Independent Reading

December 12. 2016

Are students meant to keep the LLI take-home books?


There has been much buzz on social media and the discussion board lately on whether or not the black-and-white take-home books in the Leveled Literacy Intervention systems for grades K-2 are meant for the students to keep. The short answer to that is: yes! It's understandable that some educators may feel uncomfortable letting the students keep the books because finding the money to replace them isn't easy. But it's important to understand why it's a crucial part of a struggling reader's path to meeting expectations and--more importantly--loving to read!   

Why is it important for students to keep the books?

There are three main reasons for the students to be able to keep the books:

  • Practice! Just like with cooking or playing an instrument: you get better with practice. It is as important for students who are struggling with reading to practice at home as it is in the classroom. The LLI books that the students are working with during lessons are ones that are on their current reading level, which they might not have at home. This way, you can guarantee they have access to high-quality books that they can read independently with confidence when they're away from the classroom.
  • Reading with family. Students in LLI are proud to be able to bring home a book that they can read well to share with family members. This way, family members can see what they're reading and be able to engage them in a conversation about it, and read it with them. Some students also like to show off their reading skills to younger siblings! It builds confidence that needs to extend beyond the classroom.
  • Building an at-home library. If they’re able to keep the books, students can both practice independently or with family members every night, and also be able to revisit a favorite book whenever they want. They need more than one night with the book at home in order to practice as much as they need, or be able to share sufficiently with family members. There's even a place on on the back of the books for the students to write their names, which makes it their own. And who doesn't love the books they've collected?!

Our school can't afford to keep replacing the books.

Some LLI users send the books home with the students, but then require that they bring them back. They're reluctant to let students keep the books because the thought of finding the money to replace them can seem daunting or impossible. But there are options out there! We encourage you to meet with your administrators and be creative about finding funds to replace these books. Some funding requires that a percentage of the money given to schools be spent on family resources, which would include the take-home books. Or there may be a local organization that might have an available grant, or who might be looking to donate money to schools. You could even have an annual bake sale to raise money for replenishing the books! Volume reading is so important for our students who are struggling, so try to really do the research and explore all the options.

Currently, Heinemann is running a promotion for these take-home books. You can find the link here, and apply the promo code, LITTLE, to get discounts on the books. Heinemann also offers grant assistance to help educators who are looking to purchase Heinemann Curricular or Intervention Resources but do not have the funding available to do so.

~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/