Blog

January 6. 2017

Fountas & Pinnell Online Resources: What they are and how to find them


Whether you're a new user of Fountas and Pinnell materials or a current user, you most likely need to access the Fountas & Pinnell Online Resources. We recently updated our website, so things have changed a bit. In case you're having trouble gaining access or finding the Online Resources, here's a little how-to.

What are the Fountas & Pinnell Online Resources?

The Fountas & Pinnell Online Resources is a repository of printable resources, record keeping forms, videos, and more that are referenced in various Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ products. Most of these resources may have been available through a CD-ROM at one point, but in order to meet the technological needs of our customers, it made sense to have them be accessible online. 

Where do I find the link to the Online Resources?

You can quickly find the link to the Online Resources here or you can go to www.fountasandpinnell.com and click on the "Visit other FPL sites" button on the top right-hand corner of the homepage (see image obove). The first item on that page will be the Online Resources. You will need to log in to gain access. If you don't have a login, you will need to register, which is free and easy.

How do I gain access to the Online Resources?

If you are a first-time user, you will need an access code once you are registered. You can find your access codes in different places depending on the product and edition. Some examples are: the inside front cover of your System Guides for LLI, Assessment Guides for BAS, or in the Introduction of Guided Reading. If you have one of the earlier editions of LLI or BAS that comes with the Technology Package and the physical CD-ROMs and DVDs, you will not have received an access code with the purchase of those systems. You can get an access code by contacting Heinemann Tech Support here or by calling 800-225-5800. You must have already purchased a product to acquire an access code to its Online Resources.

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/  


December 21. 2016

Season's Greetings from Fountas and Pinnell!

Happy Holidays!

The best part of the holiday season is acknowledging those who make our lives meaningful. We want to take the time to recognize your dedication to literacy education throughout the year, and for all you do to enhance the literacy lives of your students.

As 2016 draws to a close, we have been thinking about how important it is to celebrate the progress of our students and the growing expertise each of us has been able to achieve. This may be a time for our educator teams to recognize achievements and set new goals for 2017 so they are fresh for the New Year to start. We wish you all some time for reflection, renewal, special time with dear ones, and a world of good wishes this holiday season.

Warmest holiday wishes, 

Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team




December 12. 2016

Are students meant to keep the LLI take-home books?


There has been much buzz on social media and the discussion board lately on whether or not the black-and-white take-home books in the Leveled Literacy Intervention systems for grades K-2 are meant for the students to keep. The short answer to that is: yes! It's understandable that some educators may feel uncomfortable letting the students keep the books because finding the money to replace them isn't easy. But it's important to understand why it's a crucial part of a struggling reader's path to meeting expectations and--more importantly--loving to read!   

Why is it important for students to keep the books?

There are three main reasons for the students to be able to keep the books:

  • Practice! Just like with cooking or playing an instrument: you get better with practice. It is as important for students who are struggling with reading to practice at home as it is in the classroom. The LLI books that the students are working with during lessons are ones that are on their current reading level, which they might not have at home. This way, you can guarantee they have access to high-quality books that they can read independently with confidence when they're away from the classroom.
  • Reading with family. Students in LLI are proud to be able to bring home a book that they can read well to share with family members. This way, family members can see what they're reading and be able to engage them in a conversation about it, and read it with them. Some students also like to show off their reading skills to younger siblings! It builds confidence that needs to extend beyond the classroom.
  • Building an at-home library. If they’re able to keep the books, students can both practice independently or with family members every night, and also be able to revisit a favorite book whenever they want. They need more than one night with the book at home in order to practice as much as they need, or be able to share sufficiently with family members. There's even a place on on the back of the books for the students to write their names, which makes it their own. And who doesn't love the books they've collected?!

Our school can't afford to keep replacing the books.

Some LLI users send the books home with the students, but then require that they bring them back. They're reluctant to let students keep the books because the thought of finding the money to replace them can seem daunting or impossible. But there are options out there! We encourage you to meet with your administrators and be creative about finding funds to replace these books. Some funding requires that a percentage of the money given to schools be spent on family resources, which would include the take-home books. Or there may be a local organization that might have an available grant, or who might be looking to donate money to schools. You could even have an annual bake sale to raise money for replenishing the books! Volume reading is so important for our students who are struggling, so try to really do the research and explore all the options.

Currently, Heinemann is running a promotion for these take-home books. You can find the link here, and apply the promo code, LITTLE, to get discounts on the books. Heinemann also offers grant assistance to help educators who are looking to purchase Heinemann Curricular or Intervention Resources but do not have the funding available to do so.

~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/ 

December 8. 2016

Ask Meli!

For those who don't know her, Meli is Irene Fountas's dog who has been featured in a series of leveled books from the Leveled Literacy Intervention System. Over the years, she has become a beloved icon for students and teachers working with LLI. Many classrooms have even sent in fan mail! This is the first in a series of blogs where Meli is taking time out from her busy schedule of chasing squirrels, barking at birds, and napping to answer some of your questions. But first, here's a recent Q & A to help you get to know her a little better.

Q: How do you pronounce your name, Meli?

: It is pronounced Mell-ee, like the word "belly" or "smelly!"

Q: Are you a male or a female dog?

: I am a female dog.

Q: What kind of dog are you?

: I am a West Highland White Terrier, also known as a "Westie" for short. My ancestors originally came all the way from Scotland!

Q: How old are you?

: I just turned 11 years old.

Q:  Who do you live with and where?

: I live with my owner, Irene Fountas. We live in Massachusetts where it's starting to get cold and soon the snow will come. I love to run around in the snow! 

Q: What is your favorite treat?

: There isn't much I don't like to eat, but my favorite treat is cantaloupe! 

Q: Are you also the dog in the Sam and Jessie books from LLI?

: Yes, that's me! It's a cartoon version of me.

Meli has received many letters from her fans, so she will take time each month to answer her letters here on www.fountasandpinnell.com. If you have any questions for Meil you can send letters to Meli c/o The Fountas & Pinnell Team, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801. You can also post questions on the Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell Facebook page, or submit questions via Twitter @FountasPinnell with the hashtag #FPAskMeli.

December 1. 2016

Thank you for putting the "U" in CommUnity! Celebrating 20k Members!


In August of this year we launched the online Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Community, and in three short months we have gained over 23,000 members and counting! Our members have come together from all over the world to share a common vision:to give children a chance to live a literate life that expands their empathy, curiosity, and competencies to become good global citizens.

We wouldn't be one of the fastest growing communities in the field of literacy education without you and we thank you for taking this journey with us to achieve substantial school-wide growth through a community of educators.

On behalf of Irene and Gay and the entire Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Community THANK YOU for your commitment to every child, every day. 

If you'd like to become a member of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Community you can sign up for free at www.fountasandpinnell.com. The Community also extends to social media with an additional 60k members via Facebook and Twitter combined! If haven't already, you can like the Irene C. Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell Facebook page to receive important updates or event notifications. Or you can join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Learning Group where you can collaborate in real time with your peers. And if you're more of a Twitter person, you can follow @FountasPinnell.

November 25. 2016

A Level is a Teacher's Tool, NOT a Child's Label


It’s hard enough to be a kid. They have lots of things to worry about: parents, friends, sports, grades, etc. Reading can be an escape from those worries, just like it is for adults; it’s a way to relax and plunge yourself into someone else’s world for a little while.  But what happens when a child finds out that they’re not reading on the “same level” as the other children? What does that even mean to them? It’s not good, they know that. Reading has now become another worry to add to the pile of worries.

Trying to climb the “level ladder” is not what reading is about. It should be about enjoyment and discovery. Focusing too much on text levels can cause problems. Fountas and Pinnell created the F&P Text Level Gradient ™ to be used as a teacher’s tool for assessment and instruction. The levels aren’t meant to be shared with the children or parents.

Help Students Build Self-Esteem and Love of Reading

“It is detrimental to a student’s self-esteem and to their love of reading when they are encouraged to measure their own progress by ‘moving up levels,’” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Students should not use levels to compare themselves with others or to compete. This is counterintuitive to building a classroom community where each student is respected; has a sense of agency; values collaboration over competition; and grows up seeing themselves as literate. 

Make “Choice” Authentic

Telling students to choose by “level” is not an authentic way to select books to read independently. That isn’t how I choose a book as an adult. In fact, I really love reading high fantasy, young adult books with a romantic twist. Can I read War and Peace? Sure, but I devour those YA novels like candy and that’s what we want students to do: get them to a point where they need to read every day; they yearn for it. As much as possible, strive for them to choose books in a way that all readers do—books that interest and engage them.  

Advocate for the Appropriate Use of Levels in Your School

Fountas and Pinnell believe very strongly that students’ reading levels have no place in teacher evaluation or on report cards to be sent home to parents. Too much emphasis on levels can lead to misconceptions on the part of families. Informing parents of the level at which their child is reading can make them uneasy.  They may see the level as a very exact measurement, but students don’t always read at a precise level. Parents also talk with other parents, and if they find that their child is reading at a lower level than other children, they might panic. But they don’t understand the intricacies of how those levels work the way you do. 

Levels can be a resource for you and your colleagues to guide student choices for independent reading, but they should not be a limitation or a requirement. Leveled books are instructional tools for teachers who understand them—nothing more. Above all else, a level is a teacher’s tool, not a child’s label.

Jill Backman, Fountas & Pinnell Marketing Manager                                                                                                                       

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

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

November 18. 2016

November Twitter Chat on Guided Reading, Second Edition, Part 1

On Thursday, November 17th, authors Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted part one of a Twitter chat on Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition. People from all over the country logged in to discuss important topics such as, why observation and interpretation of students' literacy behaviors are so critical to high-impact teaching within guided reading. Teachers tweeted about how they use responsive teaching in their own classrooms to elevate their guided reading lessons, while Fountas and Pinnell offered words of advice and encouragement such as, "Instead of expecting students to be where you are, you have to bring the teaching to where they are."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) for part two of the Guided Reading Twitter chat with Fountas and Pinnell.


November 10. 2016

The Importance of Guided Reading Within a Multi-text Approach

In Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition, Fountas and Pinnell emphasize that “small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). You start with high teacher support in shared reading and interactive read-aloud, and gradually release the control over to the students through guided reading and independent reading, while book clubs and literature discussion are woven throughout. The level of support will vary, however, depending on the demands of the text and the level of control by readers, which can fluctuate at any point in time.

Fountas and Pinnell recommend five instructional contexts for reading that will give students five kinds of reading opportunities using different levels of support. “All play an essential role; they contribute in different ways to each student’s development as readers, writers, and language users,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Interactive Read-Aloud (high teacher support)

In interactive read-aloud, you start by selecting a high-quality, short picture book (or occasionally a longer chapter book) so the students are listening to the story or nonfiction book as you read it to them, not decoding words and attending to punctuation. While the students listen, they are engaging systems of strategic actions for comprehending texts.  Interactive read-aloud is usually a whole-class “interactive” activity intended to spark discussion. So, as you read, you can stop at specific points in the text and encourage your students to turn and talk to a partner or respond to the whole group. “Interactive read-aloud is a way to engage daily in comprehending and articulating their thinking about age-appropriate material (the level is generally beyond the instructional reading level of most of the students),” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

Shared Reading (high to medium teacher support)

In shared reading, you start by selecting an enlarged text because, unlike read-aloud, you want the print and other text features to be visually available to your students. You can choose a wide variety of genres and formats and offer high teacher support as you did in interactive read-aloud. First, you read the text aloud to the students while engaging them in a discussion about it. Then, invite them to read along with you. After the book has been read in unison several times, the students can read it on their own or with a partner. “As readers become more proficient, shared reading continues to offer opportunities for more advanced reading work that students can do independently,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

Guided Reading (medium to low teacher support)

In guided reading, you do not read aloud to the students. This allows them to have more control of the reading process, as opposed to interactive read-aloud and shared reading where they had high teacher support. You choose a high-quality text that is new to them, and in a small-group setting you provide a carefully planned introduction, and they read it individually. After they read, you can guide them in a discussion about the meaning of the text using teaching points based on your observations. Finally, if appropriate, you can engage in work with words and letters.

Independent Reading (low teacher support)

Independent reading is all about choice. Your primary role in independent reading is to provide students with a rich, well-organized collection of books from which to choose. The texts should be in a variety of genres and levels of difficulty so all students will be able to find something they want to read. “Independent reading is placed within a strong instructional frame, through minilessons to help students apply understandings to their own reading and learn how to choose books they can enjoy, reading conferences to support thinking, and group share for further learning and assessment,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).  

Book Clubs/Literature Discussion (high to low teacher support)

In book clubs (literature discussion), students choose their own text, but have a limited selection from which to choose. Students then join a book club group to talk together about the text they chose. Their choices may not match their competencies, so teachers will have to either read the texts to them, or provide them with an audio recording. “”The teacher gathers the students for a discussion, at first providing a higher level of support, but gradually with lessening support as students take over the discussion,” (Fountas and Pinnell).

For more information on the different reading contexts to use in the reading and writing classroom, pick up a copy of Guided Reading, Second Edition. Fountas and Pinnell describe, in detail, the broader literacy learning context in which guided reading resides and how these different instructional contexts for reading lead to stronger writing. “When students engage as readers with a variety of texts, they are also learning about how to craft texts as writers. When you help your students read like writers and write like readers, they benefit greatly from the reading-writing connection,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

~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/ 

References:

Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades.© 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

November 6. 2016

What is Responsive Teaching?


Now your classroom is all organized. You have assessed your students. You have formed your initial reading groups. Now it's time to teach! You've planned your learning tasks to hair-splitting detail. But are you prepared for when your students shift your instruction down a different path? Effective teaching requires your ability to observe your students and then turn your instruction in the direction your readers or writers take you, even if it wasn't planned. This is called responsive teaching. 

In the second edition of Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Fountas and Pinnell have directed much of their focus toward responsive teaching. "No matter how well you plan and structure learning tasks, it’s the one-on-one interactions that inform the power and effectiveness in your teaching," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). The key to effective teaching is your ability to make different decisions for different students at different times. Fountas and Pinnell urge teachers to "teach the child, not the book or program." 

Use Observation and Assessment to Inform Teaching Decisions

Fountas and Pinnell describe responsive teaching as "those moment-to-moment decisions that you make as you observe and analyze yourstudents' behaviors. It is the observation and analysis of the students' reading behaviors that informs your next teaching moves," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). It's up to you to know the readers through observation. Those observations will inform you as to what books to select and what teaching decisions to make. In Guided Reading, Second Edition you will find a specific process you can use to gather student data, analyze it, and use it to set up a successful context within which you can teach successfully. The Literacy Continuum is also a powerful tool to plan for, guide, and assess teaching.

Hone Your Teacher Language

Responsive teaching requires your continual attention and reflection on your students' observable behaviors and the effects of your teaching decisions on their learning. One important element is the language you use to respond to the learner. "Over the years, we have grown in our realization that teacher language is all-important in responsive teaching. We want our statements, prompts, and questions to be as clear and precise as possible," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Fountas and Pinnell have developed a number of tools that will help you hone your language until it becomes internalized and you don't need to refer to the tools anymore. These tools include: The Literacy Continuum, Prompting Guide Part 1 for Oral Reading and Early Writing; Prompting Guide Part 2 for Comprehension; Genre Prompting Guide for Fiction; and Genre Prompting Guide for Nonfiction, Poetry, and Test Taking.

Use High-Quality Texts

In order to help students fall in love with reading, give them books they want to read. Students need access to a wide range of topics, themes, genres, and forms, as they participate in interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, book clubs, and independent reading. This also doesn't happen overnight. A high-quality text collection is built over time. Fountas and Pinnell provide suggestions on how to develop a rich text base to support literacy. "When students encounter responsive teaching in all literacy contexts, they get a powerful message: Reading is thinking," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). 

To learn more how you can engage in responsive teaching that supports continued growth of your students, pick up a copy of Guided Reading, Second Edition.

"The responsive teacher provides differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student. He observes readers and writers very carefully, weaving a valuable set of understandings about each. Then, in a continuously evolving process, he tailors his precise responses to the readers’ strengths and needs," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

~Jill Backman, Fountas & Pinnell Marketing Manager

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/ 

References:

Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades.© 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching.© 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


November 1. 2016

Fountas and Pinnell receive high honors


On top of celebrating the 20th anniversary of their wildly popular publication, Guided Reading, with the release of the much-anticipated second edition, we are proud to announce that Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have both received prestigious awards for their years of work in the field of literacy. It has been a year of celebration for Fountas and Pinnell! 

Gay Su Pinnell, The Ohio State University Alumni Medalist Award Winner

At an award ceremony on October 7, Gay was awarded The Ohio State University Alumni Association's 2016 Alumni Medalist Award, the highest honor presented to a graduate of the institute. Gay was recognized for her contributions in bringing the successful Reading Recovery® to the United States.  

Gay is a professor emerita in The Ohio State’s School of Teaching and Learning. Her research into early literacy led her to Reading Recovery®, which has made profound differences in New Zealand schools. Along with two colleagues, Carol Lyons and Diane DeFord, she developed Ohio State’s Reading Recovery® program, placing the institution in a national leadership role. Each year, the Reading Recovery® program helps 55,000 first-graders across the United States move on to the next grade secure in their ability to read and write. 

In an Ohio State Twitter post from October 12, Gay was asked, "What is the one characteristic that you believe every Buckeye leader should possess?" To which she replied, "I think it is the acceptance of responsibility and the will to make the world better for all." 

Irene Fountas, Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair Recipient

On July 1, Irene was named the first recipient of the Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery®.

This is the first faculty endowed chair given by Lesley University and honors Irene as being a pioneer in the field of literacy who recognizes the importance of extending educational opportunity to every child, particularly those in the early grades who face challenges in becoming successfully literate.

Irene is the director of the Center for Reading Recover and Literacy Collaborative at Lesley University, which she founded along with others in 1990. The Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair was established by Lesley University in conjunction with the Reading Recovery Council of Massachusetts.

At an award ceremony on October 31, her colleague, Eve Konstantellou, said, "Clay would have been proud that a Chair in her name will be occupied by a scholar whom she respected and loved.  And she’d be cheering on as Irene continues to search for what is possible in the education of children and teachers in her quest to transform schools into places of joyful and authentic literacy experiences by creating a culture of teacher growth in every school."

~From all of us on the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team, CONGRATULATIONS!