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May 4. 2018

FAQ Friday: Unpacking the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System

Q: How do I organize the materials in the new Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System?

A: View this UNPACKING Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System document for a step-by-step guide on how to organize the materials that come in the system. 

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

April 5. 2018

Ignite a Love of Words with the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System

Learning how words work doesn’t have to be a boring, mundane drill. There are ways to get your students excited and engaged in active thinking about language and how it works. Fountas and Pinnell have developed a lesson structure for phonics, spelling, and word study that uses a balance of direct teaching and discovery, which will encourage students to become active examiners and analyzers of print. 

Below is the structure that Fountas and Pinnell use in their Phonics, Spelling, and Words Study System (PWS), which provide well-planned, organized, direct teaching of language principles, but also contain an element of inquiry.

The Simple Framework

Each lesson in the PWS system follows a simple structure: teach, apply, and share. Ideally, these lessons would be embedded in a design for responsive literacy teaching that offers a combination of experiences, each of which contributes uniquely to students’ literacy development. Here’s what a lesson looks like:

TEACH whole-class lessons based on a principle related to phonics. Each principle is listed and explained in The Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide, and each incorporates an element of inquiry. The inclusion of inquiry, where possible, rivets students’ attention to discovering something about language; it makes the lesson enjoyable, even exciting! Students become pattern seekers and word discoverers, which, hopefully, will be a lifelong habit.

APPLY through hands-on practice to apply the principle. Students can learn much more through these hands-on activities because they provide an experience in constructing their own knowledge. You can choose to have all the children do the Apply activity simultaneously, individually, or with a partner after the lesson, or they could rotate to a word-study center to engage in the activity during independent work time as they develop the ability to manage their own learning. 

SHARE, as students meet briefly in a whole-class meeting, to talk about the discoveries they made. This brief sharing time gives you a chance to assess the effectiveness of your lesson, return to the principle and summarize the learning, and link to reading and writing so students know how to use what they have learned.

A general goal in presenting any lesson is to pique students’ curiosity about words. We want them to seek patterns, notice similarities, take words apart and reassemble them, think about various chunks of words and what they mean, and more. When students perceive word study as word play, an important instructional goal has been achieved.

Fountas and Pinnell believe that Phonics instruction is most effective when used within a wide range of engaging literacy experiences accompanied by rigorous teaching. Download the PWS mini-sampler to learn more about the unique lesson structure for PWS, and how this system fits into a comprehensive design for classroom literacy instruction. 

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

Join the fastest growing community in the field of literacy education. Get your free membership and stay up to date on the latest news and resources from Fountas and Pinnell at www.fountasandpinnell.com 

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/ 


April 2. 2018

Teacher Tip: Have Children Match and Sort Letters

Children's first efforts at matching and sorting may be with letters of different shapes or colors, but they can soon learn to sort letters, match letters, find letters with features in common such as tails, circles, short sticks, tall sticks, tunnels, dots, capitals, and so on. Their time spent sorting letters in a myriad of ways is essential to learning how to look at print in the early levels. They need to develop fast, flexible recognition of letters. Begin with just a few letters rather than all twenty-six, and concentrate on the lowercase letters and get the children to develop speed in matching or sorting.

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.

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!>>


July 28. 2017

School is Starting Soon! Are You Ready for Phonics Instruction?

For many educators, phonics instruction is an integral part of their overall design for literacy education in their classrooms. Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ offers a variety of ways to implement phonics, spelling, and word study within many different instructional contexts. 

Below is a rundown of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ resources that incorporate phonics, spelling, and word study, as well as what it looks like to teach with these valuable resources in the classroom.

Introducing the NEW Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System

In August of this year, Fountas and Pinnell will release a new, enhanced version of their 2003 resource, Phonics Lessons, called the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System for grades K and 1 (grades 2 and 3 to follow in 2018). More...


July 25. 2017

7 Ways to Effectively Teach Phonics to ELLs

You are likely to have many children in your class who not only can speak one language but are learning a second or even a third language. And that is a great thing. If English is an additional language, then it will be important that you understand
and value the child’s expansion of both home and school language. You will want to adjust your teaching to make sure that English language learners (ELLs) have access to your teaching about sounds, letters, and words. Often, these adjustments are minor and easy to implement, but they are necessary to promote essential understandings on the part of these learners.



Here are some ways you can support ELLs in Phonics and Word Study:
  1. Use many hands-on activities so that children have the chance to manipulate magnetic letters and tiles, move pictures around, and work with word cards and name cards.
  2. Be sure that the print for all charts (ABC charts, name charts, shared writing, picture and word charts, etc.) is clear and consistent so that children who are working in another language do not have to deal with varying forms of letters.
  3. Make sure that English language learners are not sitting in an area that is peripheral to the instruction (for example, in the back or to the side). It is especially important for these learners to be able to see and hear all instruction clearly.
  4. Provide a “rehearsal” by working with your English language learners in a small group before you provide the lesson to the entire group.
  5. Use real objects to represent pictures and build concepts in children’s minds. When it is not possible to use real objects to build concepts, use clear pictures that will have meaning for children. Picture support should be included whenever possible.
  6. Be sure to enunciate clearly yourself and accept children’s approximations. If they are feeling their own mouths say (or approximate) the sounds, they will be able to make the connections.
  7. Accept alternative pronunciations of words with the hard-to-say sounds and present the written form to help learners distinguish between them. Over time, you will notice movement toward more standard English pronunciation.

From Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Lessons, Grade K by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.