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February 6. 2018

How to Transition Younger Children to Independence

In grade two or even grade three, you may have students who are just beginning to sustain attention to texts and have little experience managing themselves independently. You may want to structure the independent work period so that it includes three independent tasks:

  • Reading books of their choice.
  • Writing in a reader’s notebook.
  • Completing one carefully designed word study/phonics activity with a partner.

The word-study activity can be an outcome of the phonics/word-study minilesson that you teach at another part of the day. These activities can be individual or involve partners or a group of four using quiet voices. Students can learn to complete three tasks during the alloted time.

When students are called to the guided reading group during independent work time, they set aside their materials and go to the group. Then, they return to whatever they were doing. This kind of transition may not be needed very long as students begin to build stamina for reading for increasing amounts of time.

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.

January 26. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: Choice and Why It Matters

On Thursday, January 26th, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on Choice and Why It Matters. People from all over the country to join the conversation on the importance of student choice in the classroom. Some favorite tweets included:

Independent reading is really the goal of all reading instruction. What children can do for themselves is what matters most, and they become more proficient in reading on their own by engaging and thinking and talking about books with others. More...
January 18. 2018

How to Foster a Love of Reading Through Choice


We want our students to love reading books. We want them to go over to a book shelf, choose a book that interests them, and hurry to dive in. The ability to choose a book that interests them, as opposed to one that is assigned to them, is vital to growing that passion. Here are some ways you can foster that love through student CHOICE. More...


November 14. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom for Independent Reading

Consider the following suggestions as you arrange your classroom for independent reading:

Choose a place in your classroom to create a classroom library. Shelves that accommodate book bins are ideal, with bins organized by genre topic, author, and interest for easy access and browsing by children. Organize the conferring cards in your resource area, so that you can quickly pull the appropriate cards to support your conferences with readers.

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.

October 24. 2017

Teacher Tip: Help Students Make Good Independent Reading Choices

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 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2013 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

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...