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March 23. 2018

Writing Opportunities Within Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

Students learn to write by writing. While the names Fountas and Pinnell have become synonymous with reading instruction, they believe that both reading and writing are what make up a comprehensive literacy design. Opportunities for students to write within and outside of the context of reading are woven throughout their new system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). Read on to learn how.

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom is made up of seven instructional contexts: interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, book clubs, independent reading, phonics, spelling, and word study, and reading minilessons. Below is a breakdown of how writing is incorporated into each of those contexts.

Interactive Read-Aloud

Within each FPC Interactive Read-Aloud lesson there is a section called Respond to the Text. Here, you can give students an opportunity to share their thinking about the text you have just read through shared writing, interactive writing, or independent writing. Reading Minilessons There are four types of minilessons within The Reading Minilessons Book—Management, Literary Analysis, Strategies and Skills, and Writing About Reading. The Writing About Reading minilessons are concise, explicit lessons with a powerful application in building students’ independent reading competencies. The Writing About Reading minilessons introduce the reader’s notebook and help students use this important tool for reflecting on their reading and documenting their reading life for the year. Also, within the other types of reading minilessons, there are optional suggestions for extending the learning of the minilesson over time or in other contexts in an optional section called, Extend the Lesson. Finally, the last page of many of the umbrellas there is a section called Link to Writing where students are offered suggestions for writing/drawing about reading in a reader’s notebook.

Shared Reading

Each lesson in the FPC Shared Reading Collection has a section called Respond to the Text. This is where you can expand students’ thinking about the reading with suggestions that include art activities, drama, research, and shared or interactive writing.

Independent Reading

After conferring with a student about the book he is reading and learning his thoughts on the text, you may want to encourage him to expand his thinking about the book through writing or drawing. The Conferring Cards that accompany each title within the FPC Independent Reading Collection has Writing About Reading Prompts. You can choose or modify these prompts that would best support and extend the student’s understanding of the text.

Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study

Fountas and Pinnell believe that explicit phonics instruction should be both out of text (outside of reading instruction) and in text (embedded within reading instruction). Both can be systematic; both can be explicit; both are essential. The lessons within the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System provide explicit phonics instruction out of text, but each lesson provides suggestions for extending the learning through explicit instruction in text. For example, they include specific suggestions to use in interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, and independent reading and writing.

Guided Reading

Each lesson in the FPC Guided Reading Collection has an optional Writing About Reading section. This section offers suggestions for students to reflect and expand their thinking on the book they are reading, through shared, interactive, and independent writing activities. Choose topics that evoke the most interest and conversation.

Book Clubs

Occasionally teachers may want to encourage students to expand their thinking about a book they have just read through writing in their reader’s notebooks. Each Discussion Card in the FPC Book Club Collection provides suggested topics that the teacher can give students to reflect and expand on through writing, after the discussion.

By connecting learning across these instructional contexts, you ensure that students make connections to the texts that they're reading and writing about and find authentic application for their learning. When students spend their time thinking, reading, writing, and talking every day, they get a message about what is valued in your classroom and they begin to develop their own values. The act/process of reading and the reader's response through talk and writing are powerful tools for high-impact teaching.

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March 13. 2018

Teacher Tip: Expanding Students' Vocabulary in Specific Instructional Contexts

How to expand students' vocabulary in specific instructional contexts:

  1. Interactive read-aloud and literature discussion. Here you have the opportunity to use intentional conversation to bring students' attention to words and invite them to discuss words. The texts that you use for interactive read-aloud can extend vocabulary minilessons in which you have taught word-solving strategies. You can demonstrate how to derive meaning from context or look at word parts.
  2. Small-group reading instruction. Here students have the opportunity to read for themselves with your support. In each instructional segment––introduction, reading, discussion, teaching points, and writing about reading––words can be examined, taken apart to identify meaningful parts, and discussed. Students are presented with examples in context and have the opportunity to apply word-solving strategies independently.
  3. Extending meaning through writing. Here students have a chance to examine words more closely. You can extend understanding of the meaning of texts––and the words in them––by supporting students as they write about their reading. They can summarize their understanding using organizational tools like graphic organizers to analyze the text, respond to specific language and the meaning they take from it, or write from the point of view of a character. As they write, they are considering and using the vocabulary from the text. In addition, they can focus on vocabulary directly using word webs, grids, or charts.

From When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2009 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

December 8. 2017

FAQ Friday: How are phonics and word study integrated into Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™?

A: Phonics, spelling, and word study are woven into the various instructional contexts within Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) including:

Phonics, Spelling and Word Study System: The lessons in this system are systematic, and sequenced with built-in flexibility for teachers to choose which minilessons to use and when, according to the needs of the students. Each “Teach” activity within the minilessons is designed for use with the whole class, and the “Apply” activity could be used with a small group, pair, or an individual student. All of the revised lessons are derived and connected to principles from The Fountas & Pinnell Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling and Word Study Guide, which reflects the specific behaviors related to the nine areas of learning for letters, sounds, and words that children develop over time:

  1. Early Literacy Concepts
  2. Phonological Awareness
  3. Letter Knowledge
  4. Letter-Sound Relationships
  5. Spelling Patterns
  6. High-Frequency Words
  7. Word Meaning/Vocabulary
  8. Word Structure
  9. Word-Solving Actions

FPC Shared Reading Collection: The lessons in the FPC Shared Reading Collection include suggested Phonological Awareness/Phonics/Word Study goals taken from The Literacy Continuum that the text used in the lesson will support the teacher in helping students achieve.

FPC Guided Reading Collection: The goals embedded within the FPC Guided Reading Collection lessons apply the principles from The Fountas & Pinnell Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling and Word Study Guide. In addition, an important component of each FPC Guided Reading Collection lesson are brief, but focused attention to words and how they work in the form of an embedded phonics activity that is based on the Planning for Letter and Word Work After Guided Reading feature from the Guided Reading continuum in The Literacy Continuum.

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

December 5. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom for Guided Reading

Your guided reading area is best located in an area of the classroom that accommodates a table large enough to seat 4-6 children and yourself. A kidney-shaped table is ideal. Arrange the table so you sit facing the children and classroom, allowing you to monitor the children working in independent work areas. Ideally the lessons and books are arranged by level on shelves behind your small-group table, allowing you to easily retrieve and return instructional materials.

From Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

July 20. 2017

Reflections on the 2017 ILA Literacy Conference


Educational conferences are wonderful opportunities to learn new teaching methods, make connections, and get refreshed for the upcoming school year. This year's International Literacy Association 2017 Conference was no exception! We heard from a lot of great speakers and educators from all over the world whose passion for education was truly inspiring.  

Fountas and Pinnell held two powerful sessions at ILA this year: "Teaching for Coherence: A Design for Literacy Instruction" and "Responsive Teaching: Four Keys to Effective Decision Making Within the Guided Reading Lesson." Below are some of the most favored bits of wisdom we took away from those two discussions. We invite others to share their thoughts on these or anything else about their experience at ILA 2017. More...

June 30. 2017

Here’s HOW to Order Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

It's finally here! Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ is no longer just a glimmer in our eye. The beautiful books are NOW being printed and assembled with the lessons. It's getting ready to fill your shelves and enhance your instruction. More...