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April 26. 2018

Getting Kindergarteners to Level D

In 2012, as the result of ongoing data collection, changes were made to the recommended grade-level goals on the F&P Text Level Gradient™. Instead of kindergarteners completing the grade at an instructional level C the gradient shows them exiting at an instructional level D. Since this change, many kindergarten teachers struggle with how to meet this goal. But it’s important to know that it is possible! Below are some suggestions on how to accomplish this goal in practical ways that also instills an absolute joy of reading and writing.

A Literacy-Rich Day

Literacy should be woven through everything you do from the minute your children walk in the door. For example, as soon as children arrive for the day, they fall into a routine of finding and flipping over a name card in a pocket chart to indicate attendance. More...

March 29. 2018

Lift Your Professional Learning with Multi-Day Institutes

Materials themselves help teachers grow professionally, but alongside that teachers need good professional learning opportunities. Professional learning makes the work come alive. Each year, educators from around the world join Irene C. Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell, and their consultants, in multi-day professional learning institutes, and leave with new energy and understanding that will inform their teaching all year. 

Below are some of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™-focused multi-day institutes that Heinemann offers along with information about what can be gained from these fulfilling professional learning opportunities. More...

March 23. 2018

FAQ Friday: Which LLI System Should I Use?

Q: Which Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) should I use?

A: There are seven systems that make up LLI and span grades K through 12.

Primary Systems:

  • Orange System: levels A through E
  • Green System: levels A through K
  • Blue System: levels C through N

Intermediate Systems:

  • Red System: levels L through Q
  • Gold System: levels O through T

Middle/High School Systems:

  • Purple System: levels R through W
  • Teal System: level U through Z

There are specific Lesson Guides for each LLI System, and the systems are coordinated with the grade levels at which they will most likely be used; however, educators may make other decisions as they work to match the program to the needs of particular readers. The systems overlap in levels, but books and lessons for each system are unique, with no overlap of titles or lessons.

The LLI books have been written specifically for the intervention system. Written by children's authors and illustrated by high-quality artists, they are designed to provide engaging, age-appropriate material while at the same time offering increasingly sophisticated learning opportunities so that students can build a reading process over time.

March 15. 2018

Struggling Readers Need Intervention. They Need LLI.

It is midway through the year, and by now you might be observing that some of your students are falling behind their peers in reading. Even with many high-quality literacy opportunities, some students struggle with literacy learning and need intervention to get them back on track. The goal of Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention System (LLI) is to give students the boost they need to read at the same level as their peers and fully benefit from classroom instruction.

What is LLI?

LLI is a rigorous, small-group, supplementary literacy intervention system for students who are not achieving grade-level expectations in reading and writing, and are not receiving another form of literacy intervention. The LLI systems are designed to bring students from the earliest level A (kindergarten level) to level Z, which represents the competencies needed at a middle and high school level. More...

February 27. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Use The Literacy Continuum with Leveled Literacy Intervention

At the end of each level in the Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Lesson Guides, you will find pages from The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching to help monitor progress and guide your teaching. It lists specific behaviors and understandings that are required for children to read successfully at that level. These behaviors and understandings are accumulative across the levels. They include important competencies children need to think within, beyond, and about texts. In other words, children take on new demands as the texts grow more challenging.

The LLI lessons are designed to support the goals listed in The Literacy Continuum. Your goal should be to help children meet the demands of successive levels of text and, in the process, expand their systems of strategic actions. The following suggestions may contribute to effective teaching in your lessons:

  • In advance of the lesson, read the new book with The Literacy Continuum goals in mind. 
  • Think about what your children can do, and then find behaviors and understandings that they control, partially control, or do not yet control. 
  • Read the introduction to the text and teaching points for the lesson, keeping in mind the processing needs of the readers. Make any adjustments you think are necessary to meet their needs. 
  • Look at the Phonics/Word Work and at the additional suggestions provided on The Literacy Continuum pages, and make any adjustments you feel are necessary for your group. 
  • As you near the end of a level, look at what the readers now control and what they need to know to successfully process texts at this level. 
  • As the readers grow more proficient and reading becomes easy at the level, look ahead to the The Literacy Continuum pages for the next higher level. You may find new understandings or more complex versions of the same understandings.
From Leveled Literacy Intervention Orange System Guide, Second Edition by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
January 23. 2018

3 Tips for Forming LLI Groups

When forming LLI groups, children do not always fall neatly into just the right number of groups. After all, they are individuals who cannot be defined by “reading level.” You will probably have to do some problem-solving when you begin to group children. Your goal is to group the children so that the level of instruction will be appropriate for all of them. Our recommendation is to start the group at a text level that allows every child to begin with success. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make some “one level” compromises. Three children whose instructional levels are B, B, and C, for example, may be able to read together and benefit from the intervention lessons starting at level B. 
  • If you are working alongside a teacher in a classroom, make arrangements for a child from the neighboring classroom to join the group you are teaching. 
  • Take children at the same level from different classrooms (but be sure that it doesn’t take too much time to assemble them in the space you are teaching). 

Your priority should be to group children efficiently and effectively so that you can teach them at the appropriate level.

From LLI Orange System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

January 19. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Long is Leveled Literacy Intervention?

Q: How Long is Leveled Literacy Intervention?

A: Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is a short-term program designed to bring children up to grade-level performance:

Instructional Features of the LLI Systems

LLI Primary systems: 12–18 weeks of explicit, direct instruction 30-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:3. Systematic intensive work in phonemic awareness, letters, and phonics. 

LLI Intermediate systems: 18–24 weeks of explicit, direct instruction 45-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:4. 36 Novel Study lesson for sustained reading of longer texts. 24 Optional Test Prep lessons. 

LLI Middle/High School systems: 18–24+ weeks of explicit, direct instruction 45-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:4. 36 Novel Study lesson for sustained reading of longer texts. 24 Optional Test Prep lessons.

December 7. 2017

Early Intervention Leads to Long-Term Success


Over the past few months you’ve been engaging your kindergarten students in rich literacy opportunities, including interactive read-aloud, shared reading, interactive writing, and writing workshop. You're starting to see how they're progressing so far on their short literacy journey. But you might find that some of your young readers are struggling. Is it too early to start intervention? Definitely not. More...