May 4. 2017

RECAP of the 5/4/2017 Twitter Chat with Fountas and Pinnell on Putting Guided Reading into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom

On Thursday, May 4, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell  hosted a Twitter Chat about Guided Reading in anticipation of their exciting new system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom, a first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. People from all over the country chimed in to share their thoughts about this important topic. Followers engaged in a discussion about many different angles of Guided Reading from the tools teachers use to get the most success out of guided reading lesson, to how guided reading propels students toward a literate life. Some favorite tweets included: More...

May 2. 2017

5 Steps to Preparing an Introduction to a Text for Guided Reading Lessons: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

You will become more efficient in planning text introductions when you have a great deal of experience. You will also get to know your book collection well over time and will be able to anticipate many of the challenges in the texts. You will also be able to add to your knowledge of the text and your knowledge of the particular readers you are teaching. Using books with many students will help you predict the range of response you can predict. You will find your own way of planning but consider these five steps to preparing your introductions to texts:

  1. Read the text, thinking about how the book works, the messages of the text, and the other text characteristics.
  2. Review the behaviors and understandings in The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, noting what the readers control and need to learn how to control. Consider learning opportunities in the lesson and how you can attend to a few opportunities in the orientation.
  3. Write a brief opening statement that will immediately engage the readers in thinking about the topic or story.
  4. List page numbers where you mean to take the readers with a brief phrase or note to remind you of what you want to help them notice. [You might also place sticky notes on a few pages.]
  5. Leave the readers with one or two things to think about that will drive them into the text and may initiate the discussion following the reading.
Adapted 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.

April 25. 2017

Six ways to help English language learners benefit from shared reading: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

From the very simple texts that kindergartners and first graders read in a shared way to the more sophisticated poems and readers' theater texts that upper elementary and middle school students enjoy, shared and performed reading are highly productive for English language learners. Here are some suggestions for helping English language learners benefit from shared and performed reading:

  1. Select texts for shared reading that have simple, easy sentences. Learning a new language is much more than decoding words. English language learners are learning new syntactic structures, and they need to absorb simple sentence patterns before they go on to complex ones. 
  2. Once a shared reading text is learned, it becomes a language resource for your students. You can use it as an example, revisiting the text to help children remember specific words or phrases. Individuals can refer to it to recall vocabulary or pattern their own writing after the language structures.
  3. Rhythmic and repetitive texts are beneficial to English language learners. The repetition will give them maximum experience with the syntax of English and will help them develop an implicit understanding of noun-verb agreement, plurals, and other concepts.
  4. Personal poetry books made up of poems used in shared reading are texts older learners can return to again and again to revisit meaning, vocabulary, and language structures. Rereading this material, even overlearning it, will support fluency.
  5. If you are able to find some traditional rhymes or songs from students' own languages, you can use these for shared and performed reading. If they are not too complicated, all students will enjoy reading them in a shared way. 
  6. English translations of traditional rhymes or songs in students' native languages are a great resource. Try "echo" reading with one group reading a line in English and the other group echoing the line in the other language.


Adapted from Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.