March 28. 2017
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:
- Demonstrate the behavior yourself. Describe it in words that are simple. Tell children why it is important.
- Have two or three children demonstrate the behavior while the others watch (maybe in a circle). Have everyone clap when they do it well.
- Have everyone demonstrate the behavior and clap for themselves.
- 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.)
- Give specific praise to the children when they demonstrate the expected behavior.
- 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.
January 26. 2017
Teaching in guided reading is precise and intensive; as a teacher, you are persistent in prompting students to initiate effective reading behaviors.
January 9. 2017
We enter texts with expectations that have everything to do with our enjoyment, appreciation (or dislike), and the meaning we take from them. Genre Study. © 2012 by Fountas and Pinnell.
December 6. 2016
In exploring genre study, we advocate teaching and learning in
which students are engaged in exploration. By engaging deeply and consistently with a variety of high-quality texts, students build an internal foundation of
information on which they can base further learning. They learn how to develop
genre understandings and can apply their thinking to any genre.
Genre study is a foundational inquiry that involves several steps
and gives students the tools they need to navigate a variety of texts with deep
Try these six broad steps in genre study:
1. Collect a set of high-quality mentor texts that are clear
examples of the genre.
2. Immerse students in several clear examples of the genre in
various instructional contexts.
3. Study the common characteristics that are always and often
evident of the genre.
4. Define the genre using the list of characteristics to create a
short working definition.
5. Teach specific mini lessons on the genre characteristics.
6. Read and Revise the lists and definition as needed and expand
students’ genre understanding.
When students understand genre, they can engage more deeply with
texts. To learn more about genre study through inquiry-based learning, please
reference Genre Study: Teaching with
Fiction and Nonfiction Books
November 29. 2016
All children need the opportunity for play and inquiry. A rich and
joyful early literacy environment in which reading, writing, and talking are
part of play, often become play. We must remember that children, especially
young children, learn through play. Play enhances language and literacy
learning. When your teaching is inquiry-oriented, you enable young children to
learn how to learn, investigate and discover new understandings, and pose
wonderings about the possibilities.
With two kinds of inquiry, information seeking and wondering,
children are immersed in constructive learning that results in an exciting,
meaningful expansion of knowledge that continues through life. Fountas and
Pinnell discuss the inquiry process in depth in their book, Literacy Beginnings.
Try these four simple steps of the inquiry process to guide your
teaching and propel literacy learning:
1. Playful Exploration (Notice, Wonder)
2. Define Questions (Plan for Observing)
3. Find Out (Investigate, Explore)
4. Share Learning (Discuss, Draw Conclusions)
October 31. 2016
As readers, we learn that knowing about the genre helps us make the predictions that support our thinking as we read the text and even help us remember it long afterward. Genre Study.© 2012 by Fountas and Pinnell.