March 28. 2017

Six Methods of Teaching Read-alouds to PreK Children: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

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:

  1. Demonstrate the behavior yourself. Describe it in words that are simple. Tell children why it is important.
  2. Have two or three children demonstrate the behavior while the others watch (maybe in a circle). Have everyone clap when they do it well.
  3. Have everyone demonstrate the behavior and clap for themselves.
  4. 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.)
  5. Give specific praise to the children when they demonstrate the expected behavior.
  6. 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.

March 17. 2017

Fountas & Pinnell Twitter Chat RECAP on Putting Interactive Read-Aloud into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom


On Thursday, March 16, Heinemann hosted a Twitter Chat in which they interviewed authors Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell about the role of Interactive Read-Aloud (IRA) in their newest system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). People from all over the country followed along in order to learn more about putting Interactive Read-Aloud into action with this exciting, first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. Followers learned about everything from the importance of Interactive Read-Aloud within a classroom literacy system to how teachers can engage readers in meaningful discussion through IRA. They also learned about the resources that make up the IRA component in FPC, such as the content that makes up the lessons and the process in which the books were chosen. Some favorite tweets included:

"Reading aloud to students is not a luxury but a necessity."
"All students can think and talk about the text, even if they can't read it it for themselves."
"Reading aloud is an essential foundation of a good language and literature system."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) as we continue the exciting chat series on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!


March 14. 2017

Guidelines for Selecting Books for Interactive Read-Aloud: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Sometimes teachers are tempted simply to pick up a handy book and read it, and it is certainly true that students can enjoy and benefit from any wonderful book. But if you want to get the most instructional power from interactive read-aloud, it is important to plan for teaching in a more precise way. Here are some guidelines for selecting books for interactive read-aloud.

  • Look for texts that you know your students will love (funny, exciting, connected to their experiences, able to extend their thinking.)
  • Select texts appropriate to the age and interests of your students.
  • Select texts that are of high quality (award winners, excellent authors, high-quality illustrations).
  • Plan selections so that you present a variety of cultures; help students see things from different perspectives.
  • Choose texts that help students understand how people have responded to life's challenges.
  • Consider books on the significant issues in the age group--peer pressure, friendship, families, honesty, racism, competition.
  • Especially for younger readers, select texts that help them enjoy language--rhythm, rhyme, repetition.
  • Select different versions of the same story to help students make comparisons.
  • Evaluate the texts to be sure the ideas and concepts can be understood by your students.
  • Plan selections that appeal to both boys and girls.
  • Mix and connect fiction and nonfiction.
  • Repeat some texts that have been loved by former students.
  • Vary genres so that students listen to many different kinds of texts--articles, poems, fiction, informational texts.
  • Select informational texts, even if they are long; you can read some interesting parts aloud and leave the books for students to peruse on their own.
  • Choose texts that will expand your students' knowledge of others' lives and empathy.
  • Choose texts that will help students reflect on their own lives.
  • Select texts that you love and tell students about them.
  • Select texts that build on one another in various ways (sequels, themes, authors, illustrators, topics, settings, structure).
  • Link selections in ways that will help students learn something about how texts work.
  • Select books that provide good foundations for minilessons in reading and writing.
  • Consider the curriculum demands of your district; for example, link texts with social studies, science, or the cor literature program.
  • Select several texts that help listeners learn from an author's style or craft.
  • Select texts that offer artistic appreciation.
  • Select fiction and nonfiction texts on the same general topics.
  • Consider "text sets" that are connected in various ways--theme, structure, time period, issues, series, author illustrator, and genre.
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.