Should omissions be analyzed? What if a student omits headings?

By Admin at January 13, 2011 10:37
Filed Under: Assessment and Progress Monitoring, Benchmark Assessment System

Many people wonder about analyzing omissions while taking a reading record for Benchmark Assessment System 1 and 2.  

Q: Should omissions be analyzed? What if a student omits headings?

 A: Omissions and insertions are generally not analyzed as they are usually related to structure. Skipping headings means each word in a heading is an error but is not really related to structure. Rather, it is missing a line of print. Instead of analyzing, simply make a note on the reading record that will remind you that this child needs help with learning to read headings.

For more examples of reading records we encourage you to visit samples at:
http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/casestudies_bas1.aspx

 

The Importance of Administering Benchmark Assessment by the Classroom Teacher

We often get asked if a paraprofessional or "assessment team" can administer the Benchmark Assessment. It is important that the classroom teacher be the administrator and we would like to take this opportunity to help explain the rationale behind this.

 

Benchmark Assessment System was designed for classroom teachers to systematically examine a student’s strengths and needs to gather data about reading behaviors and processing in order to develop instructional goals.  Classroom teachers are trained to administer the assessments in a standardized way to reduce the frequency of errors in administration and obtain standardized results.  It is most important for classroom teachers to administer the assessment rather than a testing team or paraprofessionals for the following reasons:

 

 

·         BAS is an authentic assessment where the classroom teachers observe their students reading and writing about reading.  It is not only a matter of getting scores or a level, it is the observation of students while reading and writing that provides the teacher with important information for planning instruction.

·         The classroom teacher becomes knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of each student and gets important information about fluency as she listens to each student read.

·         As the classroom teacher has a conversation with the student about the book just read, she learns about the student’s ability to interact and discuss what is read.  She gets to know each student in a one-to-one setting.

·         Having time with each student to gather data about their reading and writing about reading is valuable as opposed to interpreting cold data gathered by another professional.

We hope this has cleared up any confusion you may have had.

 

Sincerely,

         The Fountas & Pinnell Team

 

 

Benchmark Assessment System Case Study Student Reading Records

Case study student reading records are now available for the Benchmark Assessment Systems (BAS) 1 and 2, 2nd Edition. The Benchmark Assessment case studies are provided in the Assessment Guide for BAS 1, 2nd Edition beginning on page 61 (the "Monitoring Progress and Case Studies" tab), and BAS 2 (2nd Edition) beginning on page 59. These case studies examine several students in grades 1 through 7, as well as the reading progress monitoring records of individual students at different points in time.

Here are the available case studies; the student records and progress monitoring forms can be downloaded at: http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/casestudies_bas1.aspx

Grade 1 Case Studies (BAS 1)

  • Jared - Has experienced difficulty attending to print and writing his name in kindergarten
  • Selena - An English Language Learner (ELL) who recently moved to a new school
  • Wyatt - Has advanced scores on the Benchmark Assessment and Where-to-Start Word Test
  • Kendra - A reader at three different points in time

Grade 2 Case Studies (BAS 1)

  • Anson - Has limited English proficiency and a mixed-language home environment
  • Heath - Started experiencing reading difficulties in first grade
  • Jacob - Identified as having a learning disability and has received classroom instruction and supplemental reading support
  • Sharla - Has a strong grasp of high-frequency words, two-syllable words, and letter-sound relationships

Grade 3 Case Study (BAS 2)

  • Cynthia - A Khmer-speaking ELL student who is on grade level for the middle of third grade


Grade 4 Case Studies (BAS 2)

  • Francesco - Has strong accuracy/comprehension and the ability to self-correct effectively, but a slighly below-average reading rate
  • Peti - A fourth grade student who recently moved to the United States and has been learning English for 15 months

Grade 5 Case Studies (BAS 2)

  • Forest - Has strong fluency scores and an excellent reading rate but has demonstrated difficulty comprehending nonfiction texts
  • Hannah - Learning disabled, receives comprehension support from a special education teacher, and has been on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) since grade 3
  • Orlando - Bilingual with limited exposure to English outside of the classroom
  • Henry - A reader at three different points in time

Grade 7 Case Study (BAS 2)

  • Tanicia - Demonstrates strong accuracy/comprehension and the ability to self-correct effectively, but has a slighly below-average reading rate

Benchmark Assessment System Questions

Many teachers and reading specialists are currently busy implementing our Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). A recent conversation we had with an elementary principal raised some important questions about how to effectively implement the system. We hope these answers are helpful to those of you who are currently working to evaluate your students' reading abilities with the Benchmark Assessment System.


 

Question: There are two stories at each level, one fiction and one non-fiction. How do you proceed with the assessment when a student has read both stories at a level and is not ready to go to the next level. What text would be used with the student?

Answer: It would be a concern that a student reads both texts. Generally only one text is needed at a level unless something is very unusual in the child’s progress. . The benchmark assessment is not designed to be used to judge when the child should move to the next level. Rather it is an interval assessment. Ongoing assessment should include coding of the child’s reading on a regular basis not using the benchmark assessment but using the texts that are used for instruction.

If the benchmark assessment is used as an interval assessment which is the intention, that means it would be given at the beginning of the year and likely sometime near the end of the year. Sometimes schools choose to give it midyear only to students below level or to all students and at the far end it is given quarterly which is really too frequent. So a child would likely not be at the same level in a half year or even a quarter which would mean the child made no progress. If for some reason that is true, there is a second text or an alternate to use. Further, if there is an extreme case and the text was too hard the last time and now child reads it again it would be okay because it was too difficult for the child last time and the assessment stopped.

 

Question: Although the Assessment guide states that the pairs of texts at each level (fiction and non-fiction) have been matched and if a student can read one genre he is likely to be able to read the other. The teachers have found that the non-fiction texts are more difficult and if a child has read the fiction text at an independent level and is then given the non-fiction text at the same level, he reads this at an instructional level or it is too hard. How do we note progress using the different genres?

Answer: We would not suggest administering the assessment that way. If your students are doing less well on nonfiction it is a reflection of the instructional program and you should use more nonfiction in the teaching of reading. Benchmark assessment is a standardized assessment. You should alternate a fiction at one level and the nonfiction at the next level. Disregard how you think the students may do in various genres. The same variance could happen with historical fiction vs. realistic friction vs. fantasy or a student could read one topic better than another. That is not the purpose of the assessment. Rather you want to sample the reading across increasingly challenging levels to get a good place to start teaching. When you begin teaching you can move a child up or down a level based on your ongoing observations and your ongoing coding of the reading. Benchmark assessment is a sampling to get you to a good place to start.

 

Question: The assessment guide mentions interim running records, are there specific texts for this purpose? (We are in the process of developing benchmark texts for interim running records, but will not have them ready for a few months.)

Answer: We would not suggest developing benchmarks for interval assessments. It would be doing double the work and not getting as good information. Rather simply listen to the child read 100-150 words of the text used for instruction the day before and have a brief comprehension conversation to examine the effects of the teaching. That is the purpose of interval ongoing assessment- to see how the child is responding to the instructional program.

Questions about Fountas and Pinnell Teaching Systems

This back-to-school season the Fountas & Pinnell Forum at Heinemann.com has received a swarm of implementation questions for Leveled Literacy Intervention, the Benchmark Assessment System, and other Fountas and Pinnell teaching systems such as The Continuum of Literacy Learning. Below are some of the top questions we have received and answers to help you start the new school year right!

As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and questions! You can post your questions to the Fountas & Pinnell Community of educators by using the "Forums" link at the top of our blog, or just click here to see a list of all the conversation threads in our forums.

 

Forum Questions about Fountas & Pinnell teaching systems

Benchmark Assessment System - 1st Edition vs 2nd Edition
Question: What are the differences between the two kits? Are the passages the same?

Answer: This page summarizes the changes between the first and second editions of Benchmark: http://www.heinemann.com/fountasandpinnell/BAS2_changes.aspx. Overall they are largely the same; the 2nd edition provides enhancements for ease of use (improved Assessment Guide format) and information on working with specific student populations (ELL, Special Education - for example). No new little books have been added, but slight adjustments have been made to the running word counts in the upper-level nonfiction books.  The Pre-K Continuum has also been added.

If you are transitioning from the old Benchmark edition to the new one, you can order a BAS 2nd Edition Compatibility Package. If you do not plan to implement the 2nd Edition alongside the 1st Edition you do not need this package. We recommend that you continue to use your system as you do now. If you plan to use the 2nd Edition system alongside the 1st Edition, the package will allow you to have consistency across systems. We recommend that you request the Compatibility Pack.



Progressing through Benchmark Assessment levels:

Question:
I have a second grade group who has all had Reading Recovery and did not progress. They Benchmarked at level D and have gone through the 10 green lessons with average of 93% accuracy. When we moved to level E this week, they scored in the 83% range on the first Running Record. Because I worked with them so intensely, I have a feeling that when their time comes up to be tested, they will need additional special education services. My question is: "Should I progress through level E or do the level D in the blue system so they can be successful?" Your thoughts, please??

Answer: You are on the right track with wanting your second graders to be successful. Children need success to learn. Perhaps more time reading at Level D from the Blue System would be beneficial. You could also try more Level E books and increase your level of support in the introductions and their first reading of the new book.

It would be helpful to do another study of their reading records from the 10 green lessons to see if there are any patterns emerging and compare your findings with how readers are processing text in the Continuum of Literacy Learning at Level D. The introductory paragraph to Level D gives important information about readers at this level (not to be missed).

Also, as you examine the reading records over the last ten lessons, go through the behaviors and understandings to notice, teach and support that are listed in the Continuum with this group in mind. Have you analyzed these reading records with a colleague? Sometimes having several people interpret and discuss the reading records sheds more light and gives new direction for your teaching. How much are these second graders reading when they are not with you? They need increased time with easy book.

Question: We are testing students using the Benchmark system in grades 1 and 2. Many of the students scores are falling below 90% at the Level A. Where do we start with them? Are we able to use the LLI with them? If so, what level do we start on?

Answer: Yes - you could use the Orange System of LLI for your students who are reading below A and start at the beginning of the System because you will be reading to them and with them before you ask them to read a text by themselves. This support will help them read Level A texts independently.


 

Teaching phonics for kindergarten:
Question:
I am wondering if anyone uses the Phonics Lessons in their Kindergarten, Gr.1, or Gr. 2 classroom...I am teaching a K-2 class and am trying to choose a Phonics/Spelling program and am wondering if you have found it comprehensive enough to teach sight words, spelling and phonics?

Answer: The Fountas and Pinnell Phonics and Word Study Lessons Grades K-3 is a comprehensive series of lessons for phonics and word study that is based on research and how children learn. It is designed on a continuum of knowledge that includes nine areas of learning: Early Literacy Concepts, Phonological and Phonemic Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Letter/Sound Relationships, Spelling Pattersn, High-Frequency Words, Word Meaning, Word Structure, and Word-Solving Actions.

www.phonicsminilessons.com will provide you with a program overview. Along with these Phonics and Word Study Lessons for K, 1, 2, and 3, there is a large amount of professional development built in to increase your knowledge of the linguistic systems, there is a direct connection to reading and writing, and there are built-in assessments that will provide you with data to inform your instruction. We are confident that you will find these lessons comprehensive enough to teach sight words, spelling and phonics.


 

Teaching balanced literacy, Reading Recovery, and special needs students:
Question: I am a reading intervention teacher and I have enjoyed using the LLI programs with my 1st and 2nd grade struggling readers this year I have seen much progress. My district has decided that pulling groups out of the classroom is a no-no and that coteaching is the way to go for next year. I am passionate about helping struggling readers learn to read and I don't feel they can be helped with a "hit-or-miss" approach. I think they need a daily, systematic, sequential program. From what we have been told with coteaching we are not to work with the same groups of children every day. I think this is a disservice to those struggling readers who feel so much success when they work with me. Do you have suggestions as to how I can provide help for these children under those conditions? It is breaking my heart that after only one year with LLI I will have to give it up, yet how can it be used when I will be in multiple classrooms and will not be allowed to have a set group each time?

Answer: Your district is setting up a completely different delivery design than the one suggested for LLI, so it is a problem. We believe skipping around to different groups and giving struggling readers only occasional help will not have instructional power and is not supported by research.

It is a little hard to understand exactly what will be happening. Will there be two teachers in the classroom at the same time for a morning or a day? Or, will you move from class to class taking groups? LLI has been very successfully used in a "corner" or small designated space in a classroom so that children do not leave. It seems a major challenge you have is in providing a sequence of lessons that allow children to build momentum. You might try to make a case for the most struggling readers to have at least four lessons per week (realizing that you will not get the acceleration possible with five lessons) With two teachers present, you would be able to allow 30 minutes. Perhaps you could present your administrator with a systematic plan that allows for you to do the co-teaching they want and at the same time work intensively with one or two groups. It will be very important to collect student data and analyze it.

If all of this fails, be sure to gather your results from this year and prepare a concise written report that also includes how you implemented LLI.
This is a responsible thing to do in any case and you will have a written record that you can come back to as you evaluate results for next year. We hope this helps. Let us know how it is going.

 

Question: I would like to know more about why this reading program is not designed for students w/ dyslexia. Is it designed for students w/ language learning disabilities? Thanks. Is any part of the Fountas Pinnell reading program specifically designed for dyslexia/language learning disabled children?

Answer: Although Fountas & Pinnell programs such as BAS and LLI are not specifically designed for students with autism/dyslexia or other learning disabilities, many people do use them in such circumstances. (see this forum thread for an example). Some research has been done on using guided reading with autistic children (this article, for example), but for the most part the programs are used in regular education classrooms. While many people use Fountas & Pinnell guided reading programs for special needs students, there hasn't yet been a large-scale study on this topic, and the programs themselves are not specifically designed for special needs populations.

All evidence available at this time indicates that the instructional principles of guided reading are appropriate for use with special needs students, and this is something that Fountas & Pinnell hope to address more closely in their upcoming work.

Here are a few more articles that you might find helpful:
Supporting Literacy With Guided Reading
Strategies for Teaching Reading to Visual Learners
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) also has several articles on using guided reading with special needs students, but many of them are available to members only.

 

Question: I teach kindergarten through second grade special education (mostly LD and cognitive disabilities) in a large urban midwest city. I am also lucky to be trained in Reading Recovery, although our district dropped the program several years ago. I read When Readers Struggle this summer, and I am going to use the LLI lesson format using any materials I can find. I am also writing a grant to purchase at least the BAS and the first grade LLI kit, since we have less than no money for materials. If I get the grant, I'll have to collect a lot of data, and I will be happy to share my results with you. Do you have any advice on how I can make it clear in the grant that LLI will help support my instruction more than my dwindling collection of Reading Recovery books?

Answer: At Heinemann.com under the Fountas and Pinnell tab, in the right hand column, you will see Research and Data Collection. You will find the research and data for both the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Systems and the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention. There is valuable information that will help you with your grant writing.


 

Using Leveled Literacy Intervention in conjunction with DRA reading levels:
Question: My school ordered the blue system in the LLI. I read that that system is primarily for second grade and above. However, I teach first grade. Students who are on a DRA 3 and below are pulled to participate in the LLI-blue system. I love using the LLI, but I didn't know if my students would be more successful using the green system than the blue. Is there much of a difference?

Answer: The Green System is for Levels A though J – designed for 1st Grade

The Blue System is for Levels C through N – designed for 2nd/3rd Grade

The LLI systems are coordinated with the grade levels and the books were written to coordinate with the different age levels. The Green System has a series of 10 Getting Started lessons that children reading a C or below need before starting into lessons. Another difference would be the phonics lessons which are systematic and explicit. You may see a difference with the needs of your first graders and the Phonics portion of the lessons in the Blue System. The Green System will be more appropriate for struggling first graders. You will have to make your decisions for teaching based on the observation of your groups of LLI children rather than following the guide in the Blue System. If you could have the Green System, you would have a wider range of options.


 

Organization and management of classroom materials:
Question: I am using the green kit with 2 groups and the blue kit with 3 groups as a Title 1 Reading Specialist. Two of my groups I walk to, carrying materials. I find it difficult to carry the manuals and to keep switching manuals between groups. To solve that I resorted to copying the manual pages for each group so I just carry the pages needed and each group has the manual pages with their daily materials. Does anyone have a better solution than copying the whole manual? Is there a possibility that the manuals would be on CD so that they could be printed as needed for a group?

Answer: The teachers in our building who teach multilevel LLI groups pull a cart on wheels, purchased from Staples or some other office store. That way, it is easy for them to also have all of the LLI materials, books, etc that they need right with them. They pack them up at the end of every day so they are ready in the morning.

 

Question: I am getting things ready for this school year. Does anyone have a great way to organize all the materials for LLI? I have all three systems and need to keep things organized for multiple people to use. Please let me know how you have organized your materials.

Answer: Until districts have the funds to purchase more systems, they have tried several ways to organize their materials to share with others.

The districts that have a book room designate a section for their LLI books and materials. They keep the books (and they had to purchase extra copies of books because they could not predict when two teachers might have a group on the same lesson) organized by Lesson number on their bookshelves. They have a checkout system for the LLI books similar to the one they use for their Guided Reading books. They have 3 ring binders containing plastic sleeves for each lesson that contain copies of reading records, parent letters, fold sheets, picture cards, word cards. . . whatever is needed for each lesson in a sleeve labeled with the lesson number (some lessons required several plastic sleeves since they have multiple copies of everything needed for the lesson). The binders are kept on the shelves with the books organized by Lesson number. They purchased Lesson Guides for each teacher and keep the Program Guide/DVD’s with the LLI books. They developed a system for replenishing materials needed for the lessons when the supply was down to the last two. The teachers decide whether they checkout materials for the week, a number of days at a time or daily.

Other districts had a similar system with file cabinets because they do not have the luxury of space in the book room. Rather than keep three ring binders of lesson materials in sleeves, the teachers made their own copies of materials for the lessons to keep in files in their rooms. They purchased copies of the Lesson Guides for each teacher.

Copernicus Educational Products is now offering three smart storage systems designed specifically for use with guided reading programs such as Leveled Literacy Intervention. They are all available on the Copernicus website, here: http://www.copernicused.com/ProductListing.aspx?categoryid=54&searchstring=all

There is also a video on TeacherTube about organizing a guided reading classroom - you might find some good tips her as well.


 

Leveled Literacy Intervention for upper elementary grades and middle school:
Question: I have heard that LLI kits will be created to extended into grades 3-5. If so, when will they be available?

Additionally, will the lessons differ from the current kits? (time, components of the lesson, comprehension)

I have used the blue kit with 3-5 students and have seen tremendous growth in my students' reading levels, confidence, and attitude toward reading. I would love to see the progress students would be able to make with materials matched to the grade level of the students!

Answer: Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas posted an updated about the development of LLI for grades 3-8 on their blog. You can read the post here: http://www.fpblog.heinemann.com/post/2010/08/09/Update-on-Leveled-Literacy-Intervention-for-Grades-3-8.aspx

More updates on their progress will be posted as development of these new LLI levels progresses.

 

~The Fountas & Pinnell Team

Greetings from the Land Down Under!

As you may have noticed, recently we haven't been able to update our blog as much as we'd like to. This with good reason - we have been busy preparing for our first trip to Australia to promote our Continuum of Literacy Learning, Benchmark Assessment System, and Leveled Literacy Intervention programs.

Right now we are on our way to Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney to work with teachers and administrators on the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. It is a grueling plane trip but exciting to meet teachers who are using the system down under! We will keep you posted.

A wonderful group of teachers from Tasmania will be coming over to the mainland for our workshop. First stop - Melbourne!

 

Best wishes,

Irene and Gay

Fountas and Pinnell Systems Named as Core Components of MA Reading Success Initiative

Fountas & Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) have been cited as essential reading and literacy intervention components of an initiative to improve student reading proficiency in Springfield, MA. The Turing The Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success initiative, which is led by the Cherish Every Child initiative of the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, is defined in "Reading Success by 4th Grade: A Blueprint for Springfield" (.pdf). The Springfield school district activities are just a part of a statewide initiative to improve children's language and literacy development in Massachusetts.

Beginning in the fall of 2009, the Benchmark Assessment System was implemented for students in grades K-5. Springfield Public Schools utilize the system because it "provides teachers with detailed, quantifiable assessment of reading comprehension so they can differentiate instruction in small guided reading groups."

While BAS will be used to help evaluate the reading proficiency and comprehension ability of all students, the LLI program will be used primarily with under-performing readers in grades K-2.

During the summer of 2009, Springfield Public Schools [SPS] received a Title One Redesign and Restructuring Grant: Innovation Through Summer Semester Program from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. SPS used the grant resources to pilot the Leveled Literacy Intervention strategy for under-performing children who were entering the first and second grades at the Frederick Harris School. After participating in jjst one half-hour per day of LLI for five weeks, 37% of students made gains of one reading level, 41% made gains of two or more reading levels and 19% maintained their reading level. As a result of these gains over a short period of time, the district added LLI as a Tier 2 intervention. Beginning in fall 2010, every elementary school will have one of each of the three leveles of LLI kits and a minimum of one staff member per building will have LLI training.

The Turing The Page initiative aims to "Increase the quality of children's language and reading environments across the many settings in which they are growing up, from birth to age 9." Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention and Benchmark Assessment System are sure to be an integral part of this important literacy education initiative for many years to come.

Evaluating a Student's Reading Level for Placement within LLI

As back-to-school season approaches we thought it would be helpful to share some information for teachers who are just starting to use Leveled Literacy Intervention. There are, of course, many different options for evaluating and assessing student reading levels and proficiency, but using guided reading running/reading records is essential for placing students at the correct instructional level within LLI.  In order to identify the appropriate placement level for students in the Leveled Literacy Intervention system, you will need to use a text reading assessment. We recommend the Benchmark Assessment System as it directly correlates with Leveled Literacy Intervention; however, you may also use other leveled books to conduct running/reading records. The criteria below can serve as a guideline in determining students' reading levels and ultimately their placement in LLI.

Fountas & Pinnell Criteria for Instructional Level Reading
At levels A-K:

90-94% accuracy with excellent or satisfactory comprehension or 95-100% accuracy with limited comprehension.
At levels L-Z:
95-97% accuracy with excellent or satisfactory comprehension or 98-100% accuracy with limited comprehension.

Fountas & Pinnell Criteria for Independent Level Reading
At levels A-K:
95-100% accuracy with excellent or satisfactory comprehension.
At levels L-Z:
98-100% accuracy with excellent or satisfactory comprehension.

Fountas & Pinnell Criteria for Hard Level Reading
At levels A-K:
Below 90% accuracy with any comprehension score.
At levels L-Z:
Below 95% accuracy with any comprehension score.

Guided Reading for Reading Recovery, Balanced Literacy, and Special Needs Students

While not developed specifically for Reading Recovery®, balanced literacy, and special needs students, teaching systems such as Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) are often used with them. The effetiveness of reading and literacy development programs is determined by the ongoing interaction between the student, the instructor, and the instruction being presented. Fountas & Pinnell teaching systems combine research-based instructional models with developmentally-appropriate reading materials and a common language of instruction to assure that students' learning experiences are consistent and well-structured - regardless of who is doing the teaching.

Here are answers to questions about using guided reading instruction and assessment with Reading Recovery, balanced literacy, and special needs student populations.

**If you would like to present your own findings or opinions on this topic, please feel free to contribute to the Balanced Literacy, Reading Recovery, and Special Needs forum hosted by Heinemann Publishing.


Question: I am a Reading Recovery trained teacher and as I watched the video of the program, it looks like RR for groups. After teaching RR for 10 years, I went back into the classroom as a kdg. teacher. I adapted my training in RR to teach to small groups with much success.

Answer: The design of the reading Recovery Lesson and the design of the LLI lesson are different, though they are both built on Clay`s complex theory of the reading process. As you know, when you work with a small group you must address broader needs and use techniques that build on the group interaction. You will see some similar instructional procedures that we have identified as highly effective with low-achieving readers such as the sound and letter boxes form the Russian psychologist Elkonin. You will also find many other instructional procedures that are very different from Reading Recovery. You may be interested in reading a paper we wrote on this subject called “The Advantages of Using Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and Reading Recovery® Together to Serve More Low-Achieving Children in Schools.”

 

Question: LLI and Balanced Literacy – How do they mesh? Our county is moving into a Balanced Literacy framework, guided by the principles in your publications. We fortunately have teachers and literacy coaches who have been trained as Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative teachers to help us think through our learning and implementation. Will the LLI framework provide the same sort of theory and implementation so that our EIP and Special Ed children not be involved in a different framework - very concerned for our first grade kids!

Answer: The LLI teaching will fit well with the theoretical foundation of Literacy Collaborative and Reading Recovery and will be highly effective with second language learners and many special education students. There may be a few special education students who after evaluation may need a specialized approach that differs from LLI. For more information on this subject, you may want to read a paper we wrote on LLI and Reading Recovery.

 

Question: I have heard that LLI is being used with SPED students. Is there a research article available that summarizes these results? How the pacing of the lessons may differ, etc? Is there any data out there for use with ELL students?

Answer: LLI is not especially designed for SPED although many SPED teachers are finding it very helpful. At this time, LLI is so new that we do not have results on its use with SPED students, however we are in the process of collecting data from a number of districts and will soon have reports to share on our website in the LLI Research and Data Collection area. Informal reports from SPED teachers indicate that their students do make good gains and that they are able to use the lessons as designed. For most, the pacing is about the same although some teachers report that they provide more lessons on a level. This is easy to do by using both Green and Blue Systems or by using the framework with more leveled books that are teacher selected.

 

Question: We are working with a group of 3 special ed students. They have come out of a self contained program to a mainstreamed class. We are providing reading service to them. We did the benchmark assessment and they came out at level J. We are using LLI with them. We are finding that they are reading fluently at that level, but the comprehension is limited. They did level J last year in the blue kit and know have completed the green level J lessons with limited comprehension. Where should we proceed next?

Answer: Are you are using the Recording Forms from LLI to evaluate the comprehension conversation? When you see the children are having continued difficulty with comprehension it is important to first think about the teaching in the lessons. How well are you introducing the texts? Are you helping them think within, beyond, and about the text? How effective is your discussion?
We would also refer you to Chapter 17 in When Readers Struggle for many specific suggestions for improving comprehension. This book is included in your LLI system.

Ultimately, if you decide you need to spend more time at the level pull in more level J books from your leveled book library and use the LLI lesson structure and the Continuum goals for guided reading included in your lesson guide to plan for your lessons.

 

Question: I recently attended your LLI training in Houston and am planning on implementing the systems in our school. I am the principal of a school that serves many students who find literacy learning difficult. I am wondering if you would recommend using a lesson structure in guided reading groups that is similar to the odd/even structure of the LLI lessons. I think there is an advantage to having a Reading Recovery teacher return to the classroom so that RR strategies can be used with more children in the classroom. I wonder if using the LLI lesson structure(s) in guided reading would also enhance student growth.

Answer: We do not recommend the LLI format for classroom groups. Guided reading is a powerful structure for children`s literacy learning in groups in the regular classroom program. In the guided reading lesson, the teacher does use the same facilitative language we discussed related to strategic activities. The language is not specific to Reading Recovery™ or LLI. The Prompting Guide we used is a tool for all literacy teachers. The theoretical knowledge that underlies Reading Recovery, LLI, and guided reading is similar. However, the LLI structure is more intense for the lowest achieving children.

 

Question: Is LLI an appropriate program for use with students labeled as having the characteristics of dyslexia? Dyslexia is a term I do not see in the body of your work nor that of Marie Clay, at least that I can find. However, school districts are bound by law in our state to provide programs for dyslexia. There are strict guidelines and specific tests, such as the GORT and CTOPP, used for diagnosis. The typical dyslexia program in the surrounding school districts seem to be phonics-based programs which I shall not name. I, along with many of my reading facilitators, am Reading Recovery trained. I feel that the LLI kits are very well suited and more well-balanced for most students who receive the dyslexia diagnosis. I found one blog entry in which you spoke about the IEP and making sure the kit matched the accommodations prescribed. The guidelines in our state dyslexia guide provide for students to be categorized dyslexic in RtI Tier 3. Only if a student does not make adequate progress in 18 weeks is he tested for Special Education. The 504 guidelines also give leeway to label a child dyslexic in Tier 2. Could you please comment to the extent you can on how your program works with students who have the label as well as your own understanding of dyslexia?

Answer: Dyslexia is an umbrella term that covers a variety of learning disabilities. LLI was not specifically designed to meet the needs of students who have been tested and determined to have learning disabilities and been given an I.E.P. In general, it is an early intervention designed to be used when the teacher`s assessment shows that the student has difficulty and is not able to meet grade level standards. It`s broad base allows for acceleration across reading, writing, and phonics, and the combination of research-based instructional actions meets the needs of most students.

LLI can be used with learning disabled students after a team meets and determines that the components of LLI are consistent with the student`s I.E.P. Many students have been served in this category.

 

Question: I am a reading intervention teacher and I have enjoyed using the LLI programs with my 1st and 2nd grade struggling readers this year I have seen much progress. My district has decided that pulling groups out of the classroom is a no-no and that coteaching is the way to go for next year.

Answer: Your district is setting up a completely different delivery design than the one suggested for LLI, so it is a problem. We believe skipping around to different groups and giving struggling readers only occasional help will not have instructional power and is not supported by research.

It is a little hard to understand exactly what will be happening. Will there be two teachers in the classroom at the same time for a morning or a day? Or, will you move from class to class taking groups? LLI has been very successfully used in a "corner" or small designated space in a classroom so that children do not leave. It seems a major challenge you have is in providing a sequence of lessons that allow children to build momentum. You might try to make a case for the most struggling readers to have at least four lessons per week (realizing that you will not get the acceleration possible with five lessons) With two teachers present, you would be able to allow 30 minutes. Perhaps you could present your administrator with a systematic plan that allows for you to do the co-teaching they want and at the same time work intensively with one or two groups. It will be very important to collect student data and analyze it.

If all of this fails, be sure to gather your results from this year and prepare a concise written report that also includes how you implemented LLI. This is a responsible thing to do in any case and you will have a written record that you can come back to as you evaluate results for next year.

 

Question: I would like to know more about why this reading program is not designed for students w/ dyslexia. Is it designed for students w/ language learning disabilities? Thanks. Is any part of the Fountas Pinnell reading program specifically designed for dyslexia/language learning disabled children?

Answer (submitted by the Fountas & Pinnell Team): Although Fountas & Pinnell programs such as BAS and LLI are not specifically designed for students with autism/dyslexia or other learning disabilities, many people do use them in such circumstances. (see this forum thread for an example). Some research has been done on using guided reading with autistic children (this article, for example), but for the most part the programs are used in regular education classrooms. While many people use Fountas & Pinnell guided reading programs for special needs students, there hasn't yet been a large-scale study on this topic, and the programs themselves are not specifically designed for special needs populations.

All evidence available at this time indicates that the instructional principles of guided reading are appropriate for use with special needs students, and this is something that Fountas & Pinnell hope to address more closely in their upcoming work.

Here are a few more articles that you might find helpful:
Supporting Literacy With Guided Reading
Strategies for Teaching Reading to Visual Learners
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) also has several articles on using guided reading with special needs students, but many of them are available to members only.

Benchmark Assessment System 2nd Edition is Now Available

Benchmark Assessment System, 2nd EditionWe are very pleased to announce that the 2nd edition of the Benchmark Assessment System is now available from Heinemann Publishing. The Benchmark Assessment System is a one-on-one, comprehensive assessment to determine independent and instructional reading levels, for placing students on the Fountas & Pinnell A-Z Text Gradient, and connecting assessment to instruction with the Continuum of Literacy Learning.

As with the first edition, the 2nd edition of the Benchmark Assessment System is available in two unique flavors:


Irene Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell describe Benchmark Assessment System, 2nd Edition:

"As we work with teachers and students, we continually refine our assessment and instructional systems to provide the most current, efficient measurement tools and teaching supports for improved decision making and data reporting on behalf of students. With the Second Edition, we have made key changes based on widespread use of the BAS.

Based on the feedback of many teachers and administrators, we have made changes in the Assessment Guide that will provide stronger support for professional development and support teachers in using the BAS with efficiency. The Continuum of Literacy Learning also has a more user-friendly design.

Because of the greater attention to pre-kindergarten literacy, we have expanded The Continuum of Literacy Learning to include continua that will support teachers in this area. We have also updated some of the principles to reflect changes in assessment and learning.

While the student texts for the BAS are essentially the same (to provide consistency with the first edition), we have provided new designs for the BAS2 fiction books that will have greater appeal to pre-adolescents and adolescents and made a few minor changes in the nonfiction texts to reflect current knowledge. Based on observation, we have adjusted word count in nonfiction texts to reflect reading section headings.

The guide for the comprehension conversation at levels A to K has been adjusted slightly to have greater emphasis on thinking about the author's craft. The scoring rubric however remains the same. You will also find a new DVD with many examples to support professional development.

For more details about the changes click here.

By the way, if you are currently using the 2008 Edition and plan to combine it with the Second Edition in your school, you might want to order a complimentary Compatibility Pack."

 

- Irene C. Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell

 

For more information about the second edition of the Benchmark Assessment System visit the following websites:

 

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