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July 19. 2018

FAQ Friday: Is Writing Instruction Incorporated in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™?

Q: Is writing instruction incorporated in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC)?

A: Writing is integrated into all of the following FPC instructional contexts: 

  • Guided Reading (in the Writing about Reading section) 
  • Shared Reading (in the Responding to the Text section) 
  • Interactive Read-Aloud (in the Responding to the Text section) 
  • Independent Reading (in the Writing about Reading prompts) 

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum contains a Writing continuum, which can be used as a planning document and a way of assessing writing progress. As with all of the continua, the behaviors described represent goals for a year of instruction.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

June 28. 2018

FAQ Friday: What Professional Development Is Available for FPC?

Q: What professional development is available for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC)?

A: There are several professional development options for FPC.

Included with your FPC Purchase:

Optional Fee-Based:

  • On-Site: One-day, on-site seminars for each instructional context and an FPC Overview seminar
  • Online: Interact digitally with Fountas & Pinnell-trained consultants. Multiple interactive webinars for each instructional context and an FPC Overview webinar
  • Custom: 10-day custom PD plan for schools/districts that have purchased the whole FPC System. 

For additional information and pricing, please visit: http://www.fountasandpinnell.com/professionaldevelopment/ or call 800-225-5800 x1100.

June 20. 2018

Why ODMS (Online Data Management System)?

For those who have purchased Benchmark Assessment System, Sistema de evaluación de la lectura, Leveled Literacy Intervention System, or Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Guided Reading Collection, you may know that with your purchase you automatically gain access to a one-year, free trial subscription to the Online Data Management System (ODMS). If you have taken advantage of this offer, then you know how valuable this tool is. If not, you are missing out. Here’s why.

What is ODMS?

ODMS was developed for teachers and administrators to collect, share, and analyze assessment data and monitor student progress. It is a password-protected, web-based system meant to keep administrators and teachers informed. Teacher users of the system can enter student reading assessment data and view reports on individual student reading levels or comprehension levels, as well as see reports showing whole-class data. ODMS is a secure and efficient way for teachers, as well as school and district administrators, to manage assessment data.

Why ODMS?

ODMS has many benefits. Below are some of the reasons to take advantage of the free trial and keep the subscription going year after year.

Universal Screening. You can collect, analyze, and report data on individual and class literacy levels. You can then use that data to inform data team meetings, parent-teacher conferences student progress from year to year, and responsive teaching.

Progress Monitoring. By entering data gained from assessment into the ODMS, you can conveniently see the growth of students' instructional and independent reading levels over time.

Evaluate effectiveness of instruction. With integrated reporting tools, you can use the information from ODMS to see how effective your instruction is, or where it might need a little help. 

Share data. You can customize reports and share data according to district requirements.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Accountability. You can use ODMS to determine whether all students, as well as individual subgroups of students, are making progress toward meeting state academic content standards.

How Do I Use ODMS?   

If you have purchased any of the systems mentioned above, you will have a guide that contains instructions on how to log in to the ODMS. But for a deeper dive into how to use ODMS, watch any of these free WEBINARS where you’ll learn from trained consultants on everything from logging in to the system to entering data and creating reports. 

After your free trial ends, it is a $30 per-user, per-year subscription, which you can purchase HERE. And if you have any questions, you can contact our Tech Support team who are available via phone, email, or live chat at www.heinemann.com

~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/ 
June 14. 2018

How to Engage Parents and Caregivers in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

Now that Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ is up and running in your classroom, you might be looking for ways to collaborate with parents and caregivers to keep your students engaged when they go home. As you begin to plan for next year, think about ways to actively engage parents and caregivers in the literacy lives of their children. Your students will benefit greatly from communication  between home and school.

Here are some ways that parents and caregivers can support their children at home.

  • Listen to the books their children bring home to read
  • Read books aloud to their children
  • Talk about books together
  • Go to the library
  • Encourage their children to write for authentic purposes (such as a grocery list, a letter, or directions)
  • Sing songs together
  • Recite nursery rhymes or poetry together
  • Talk with their children about a variety of topics
  • Encourage their children to play outside every day
  • Encourage play in which their children use imagination.

You may also want to invite parents and caregivers into the classroom throughout the year for special literacy occasions, such as:

  • Listening to their children participate in Reader's Theater
  • A reading celebration in which parents and caregivers listen to their children read or they read to their children
  • Watching a puppet show or simple play the children have written and perform
  • Creating a literacy museum where children dress up as a character from a book and share the book with their parent or caregiver.
  • As you actively and creatively engage parents and caregivers in the literacy lives of their children, each child and family knows that their traditions and cultures are honored and the collaborative partnership between home and school is valued. 

Some parents might not be comfortable approaching you or the school, or perhaps they are unsure about how to support their children in their learning. Finding effective and creative ways to engage all parents and caregivers is likely to be a yearlong endeavor, but the benefits are worth it.

~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/ 

June 6. 2018

9 Ways to Prevent Summer Slide

Summer Slide is a term that has become all-too popular among educators. It’s a term that was created to describe when students return from summer break reading at a lower level than they did when they left the previous school year. We know that Summer Slide happens when students don’t practice their reading or writing over the summer, but it actually starts during the school year. If students don’t get hooked on reading in the classroom, they aren’t going to continue reading in the summer. So how can we prevent the Summer Slide? Here are some ideas.

1. Look for ways that books can be provided to children during the summer. For example, you might work with the public library to have a public library/parent night to make sure families have library cards and are aware of services.  

2. Invite families for pizza once a month during the school year, including a book swap or a book giveaway. Share a couple read-alouds to kick off the event.

3. Offer a school bookmobile service to bring books to students’ neighborhoods. You may be able to provide this service with donated funds.

4. Work with other teachers to develop a daily calendar to send home with popular book titles, writing suggestions, and reading activities. Include an interesting bookmark with the calendar that has a place for kids to list favorite titles. Make sure it is posted online and is easily accessible. Encourage kids to mark their favorite book they've read on the calendar and bring it to school the first day in fall.

5. Do email blasts weekly across the summer reminding parents to read to and with their children. Offer book recommendations and reviews or reminders of book-centered activities at local bookstores.

6. Take turns among staff holding a summer book club. Children will love seeing their friends and favorite teachers to talk about books!

7. Schedule “meet up at the library” days during the summer with parents and children. Students will love to see their parents check out books for themselves and they will notice that they are readers as well.

8. Make sure that all teachers have effective training in assessments being used and that reliability is well-established so there is no doubt the final level recorded for school year and passed on to the next teacher is accurate.

9. And probably the most successful preventative is skillful, effective instruction all year long that does not focus on levels but on engagement in the exciting world of books. This includes lots of read-alouds and talk around books; lots of choice for independent reading, and literacy nights to educate parents in how they can support their children.  

What we dream of is for students to burst back into the classroom in the fall talking about their favorite books they read over the summer. We need to make it easy for them to find the right books that will make that happen. When we have really hooked students as readers and writers, they don’t stop reading and writing because it is summer. 

What have you done at your school to prevent Summer Slide? Share it on our Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Page or the members-only Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group.

~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/ 
May 17. 2018

The POWER of Professional Learning

Teacher expertise is at the heart of student achievement. Continuous professional learning using a rich variety of resources and opportunities is crucial to elevating that teacher expertise. Materials themselves help teachers grow professionally, but alongside that teachers need good professional learning opportunities. Professional learning makes the work come alive.

Professional learning gives you renewed energy. It strengthens instructional decision making, empowers teachers with the latest in literacy thinking, transforms teaching and learning, and invokes a culture of collegiality and teacher expertise. Read on to learn more about the benefits of professional learning, as well as the variety of opportunities that are available to you and your colleagues.

The Importance of Collaboration

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of professional learning and development is the talk and problem solving that takes place between colleagues. Through regular, planned professional learning opportunities, you and your fellow teachers can further develop your craft, strengthen your instructional decision-making, and confidently deliver high-impact literacy instruction that enhances the learning experience of each student.

The Benefits to Your Students

The single most important factor in students' literacy success is skillful, informed teaching. Student achievement rises dramatically when teachers work in climates of collegiality and continual improvement. Through regular collaboration with your colleagues you create a common vision, common goals, and a common language, which will transfer over to your students making learning more concise and focused. Teacher expertise is the only way to raise student achievement.

Professional Learning Opportunities 

While all of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ books, resources, and systems are deeply rooted in teacher professional learning, the following opportunities are available to further develop that teaching craft and foster a climate of collegiality and community.

OFF-SITE Each year, educators from around the world join Fountas and Pinnell and their consultants, in multi-day professional learning institutes, and leave with renewed energy and understanding that will inform their teaching all year.

ON-SITE On-site, school-based seminars are developed by Fountas and Pinnell and delivered by expert consultants who are selected and trained by the authors.

ONLINE Led by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, each Webinar Series consists of a series of four interactive sessions. In addition, our self-paced On-Demand Mini-Courses explore some of the foundational ideas behind Fountas and Pinnell’s work.

THE FOUNTAS & PINNELL LITERACY™ COMMUNITY Join the thousands of educators from around the world on one of the fastest-growing online literacy communities and gain exclusive access to tools, resources, conversations, videos, tips, inspiration, and much more. *Sign up today to receive an organized 2018/2019 teacher planner while supplies last! 

FOUNTAS & PINNELL LITERACY™ LEARNING GROUP Through this highly active Facebook community, you can connect, converse, ask questions, and share stories on how you’ve implemented your favorite Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ resources in the classroom.

The end of the school year is a great time to meet with your colleagues to reflect upon the professional learning activities that together you participated in throughout the year.  School may be coming to an end but you can come up with a plan for professional leaning now for the beginning of next school year, and hit the ground running!

And don't forget to join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Community to get your free 2018/2019 Teacher Planner!

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

May 10. 2018

Make Learning Visible Through Reading Minilessons

*This week's blog is in preparation for next week's free, LIVE webinar with Fountas and Pinnell on Putting Reading Minilessons Into Action. Join us on Wednesday, 5/16 at 4:00 p.m. EST to learn more about Reading Minilessons! Register HERE.

In a literacy-rich classroom, students have a variety of reading experiences throughout the day. They hear written texts read aloud through interactive read-aloud, they participate with their classmates in shared reading, and they experience tailored instruction in small guided reading groups. But it is through the reading minilesson that you build on those experiences by making one important understanding visible. Students are then responsible for applying that understanding consistently in their reading, which will allow them to reach their ultimate goal: joyful, independent, and meaningful processing of a written text.

The Role of Reading Minilessons in Literacy Learning

A reading minilesson takes only a few minutes per day and usually involves the whole class. Each minilesson engages your students in an inquiry process that leads to the discovery and understanding of a general principle. It builds on a shared literacy experience (e.g., interactive read-aloud, shared reading, book clubs, guided reading) that the children have participated in prior to the lesson. The reading minilesson serves as a link between that prior literacy experience and their ability to apply this experience to their own independent reading. Making these explicit links is the goal of minilessons. All teaching, support, and confirmation lead to a student’s successful, independent reading. 


How Do Fountas & Pinnell Reading Minilessons Work?

The minilessons in The Reading Minilessons Book by Fountas and Pinnell are organized into four types:

Management: Teach routines that are essential to the smooth functioning of the classroom and other instructional contexts.

Literary Analysis: Build students’ awareness of the characteristics of various genres and the elements of fiction and nonfiction texts.

Strategies and Skills: Reinforce broad principles that every reader in the class needs to learn.

Writing About Reading: Introduce and help students’ use a reader’s notebook to respond to what they read and promote independent literacy learning.

Each of the four types of reading minilessons is organized into broad categories, or “umbrellas.” 


An umbrella is a group of related minilessons. Presenting several lessons within one umbrella helps children develop a deeper understanding of concepts and their application. As lessons build on each other, teachers will make a visual representation of the principles (e.g., anchor chart) that can be referenced again and again as students encounter new texts. Minilessons are most powerful when taught in response to an observed authentic need. Click here to view a sample minilesson.

Through minilessons you will be able to foster a classroom community through the development of shared language. You will be able to create relevance by linking to previous learning experiences and reinforce effective processing systems. Reading minilessons can be a powerful tool in developing students’ deep knowledge of literacy concepts, which will lead to the enjoyment of the written text every day. This is what it means to grow up literate in our schools. 

~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/ 
May 3. 2018

Six Reasons to Bring Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Into Your School

By now, you know what Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) is—a first-of-its-kind cohesive system for high-quality, classroom-based literacy instruction. We know what it’s made of—authentic or carefully selected engaging books, and the highest quality instructional material. But what truly sets FPC apart? As a system, FPC stands apart from "reading programs" in its commitment and fidelity to the following principles.

1. Instructional Coherence

FPC is designed as a coherent system. The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum serves as the instructional anchor for every lesson, goal, and book in each of the seven instructional contexts that comprise the system. But while there are separate instructional contexts that can be purchased separately, the real power of FPC comes when each part is used as a whole. Each instructional context in FPC is reciprocally connected to the others, improving student outcomes and creating equitable opportunities for all students. 

2. Responsive Teaching

In FPC, you teach individual readers, not a program. FPC honors and supports those moment-to-moment instructional decisions that teachers make based on their observations and analysis of student’s learning behaviors. It is not a script. Consider each lesson a blueprint for instruction that best supports the learners in the classroom. 

3. Multi-text Approach

Books are at the heart of FPC. There are books that are excite children and stir their imaginations. There are books that challenge and lift every reader. There are diverse books that expand readers’ knowledge of the words. Every book in FPC is carefully written or selected to support an instructional context. 

4. Student Inquiry

Children are curious. FPC allows children’s curiosity to propel authentic learning and discovery. As children think across texts, they pursue lines of inquiry that intersect and engage them as learners, and build knowledge of different topics and themes across a range of disciplines.

5. Language-Based

Reading is thinking grounded in text. Students talk reflects their thinking. FPC is rich with robust opportunities for varied talk structures within each instructional context.

6. Teacher Expertise

Your knowledge of your students informs responsive teaching. The extensive professional learning tools woven into the system help educators develop their craft, strengthen instructional decision-making, and deliver high-impact literacy instruction.

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ is centered on one powerful principle: what we teach, we value; and what we value, we teach. It is built on a set of foundational core values that together reflect a vision of what literacy education can be: a shared commitment to meaningful, effective, responsive teaching that ensures the right of every student to lead a literate life.

~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/ 

April 26. 2018

FAQ Friday: Do the Shared Reading Books in FPC Have Levels?

Q: Do the Shared Reading books in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ have levels?

A: No. The Shared Reading books are not leveled. Leveled books are ONLY meant to be used in guided reading instruction and to guide students during independent reading.

In the early years, shared reading provides easy entry into behaving like a reader. It helps students understand how to find and use information from print—directional movement, one-to-one correspondence, words and letters, and the whole act of reading and understanding a story or nonfiction text. As readers become more proficient, shared reading continues to offer opportunities for more advanced reading work than students can do independently. Supported by the group, they can take on more complex texts; and, with your teaching, they can learn a great deal which they can then apply in guided and independent reading.

The guided reading books in FPC were created and leveled according to the text characteristics in the Guided Reading section of The Literacy Continuum. The guided reading section is organized by the F&P Text Level Gradient™, A–Z+. The Shared Reading books were created according to the text characteristics in the Shared Reading section of The Literacy Continuum, which is organized by grade level, not by levels according to the gradient. The characteristics upon which the Shared Reading books were created are different from that of the guided reading characteristics so they cannot be leveled according to the gradient.

The accompanying smaller books should only be used for independent reading, not guided. The children are meant to be encouraged to reread them after the Shared Reading lesson in order to practice. They cannot be used in guided reading because they are not created according to guided reading characteristics, and therefore would not correspond with any level on the F&P Text Level Gradient™.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>