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June 1. 2018

Ask Meli! May, 2018

Summer is almost here! Meli has been wrapping up the school year by reading lots and lots of your letters! She hopes you keep writing to her during the summer!

Keep reading to see her answers to students at Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School in Glenville, NY.

Q: Dear Meli, My favroite book is Meli at the Pet Shop. Does Meli have a brother or sister? Meli do you behave? -Anthony

: Hi Anthony! I'm so happy to hear you like my books and I loved your questions! I am an only animal, so that means I do not have any brothers or sisters. And I try to behave, but sometimes I chase rabbits even though I'm not supposed to. Keep reading! Woof! Meli More...

May 25. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: The Power of Professional Learning

On Thursday, May 24, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on the POWER of Professional Learning. People from all over the country joined in and shared thoughts, ideas, and even some of their school’s professional learning opportunities. Some favorite tweets included: 
Teaching isn’t something you master; you’re never finished. A sign of teaching excellence is continuous learning. 
Materials themselves help teachers grow professionally, but alongside that teachers need good professional learning opportunities. Professional learning makes the work come alive. 
Student achievement rises dramatically when teachers work in climates of collegiality and continual improvement. 
Join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Online Community to gain access to webinars, tools, discussion boards, and other resources that will keep your professional learning active throughout the summer!
May 17. 2018

The POWER of Professional Learning

Teacher expertise is at the heart of student achievement. Continuous professional learning using a rich variety of resources and opportunities is crucial to elevating that teacher expertise. Materials themselves help teachers grow professionally, but alongside that teachers need good professional learning opportunities. Professional learning makes the work come alive.

Professional learning gives you renewed energy. It strengthens instructional decision making, empowers teachers with the latest in literacy thinking, transforms teaching and learning, and invokes a culture of collegiality and teacher expertise. Read on to learn more about the benefits of professional learning, as well as the variety of opportunities that are available to you and your colleagues. 

The Importance of Collaboration

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of professional learning and development is the talk and problem solving that takes place between colleagues. Through regular, planned professional learning opportunities, you and your fellow teachers can further develop your craft, strengthen your instructional decision-making, and confidently deliver high-impact literacy instruction that enhances the learning experience of each student. More...

May 10. 2018

Make Learning Visible Through Reading Minilessons

*This week's blog is in preparation for next week's free, LIVE webinar with Fountas and Pinnell on Putting Reading Minilessons Into Action. Join us on Wednesday, 5/16 at 4:00 p.m. EST to learn more about Reading Minilessons! Register HERE.

In a literacy-rich classroom, students have a variety of reading experiences throughout the day. They hear written texts read aloud through interactive read-aloud, they participate with their classmates in shared reading, and they experience tailored instruction in small guided reading groups. But it is through the reading minilesson that you build on those experiences by making one important understanding visible. Students are then responsible for applying that understanding consistently in their reading, which will allow them to reach their ultimate goal: joyful, independent, and meaningful processing of a written text.

The Role of Reading Minilessons in Literacy Learning

A reading minilesson takes only a few minutes per day and usually involves the whole class. Each minilesson engages your students in an inquiry process that leads to the discovery and understanding of a general principle. It builds on a shared literacy experience (e.g., interactive read-aloud, shared reading, book clubs, guided reading) that the children have participated in prior to the lesson. The reading minilesson serves as a link between that prior literacy experience and their ability to apply this experience to their own independent reading. Making these explicit links is the goal of minilessons. All teaching, support, and confirmation lead to a student’s successful, independent reading. More...

May 3. 2018

Six Reasons to Bring Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Into Your School

By now, you know what Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) is—a first-of-its-kind cohesive system for high-quality, classroom-based literacy instruction. We know what it’s made of—authentic or carefully selected engaging books, and the highest quality instructional material. But what truly sets FPC apart? As a system, FPC stands apart from "reading programs" in its commitment and fidelity to the following principles.

1. Instructional Coherence

FPC is designed as a coherent system. The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum serves as the instructional anchor for every lesson, goal, and book in each of the seven instructional contexts that comprise the system. But while there are separate instructional contexts that can be purchased separately, the real power of FPC comes when each part is used as a whole. Each instructional context in FPC is reciprocally connected to the others, improving student outcomes and creating equitable opportunities for all students. More...

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...

April 20. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning

On Thursday, April 19th, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning. People across the country joined to share their thoughts about the inquiry process.

Some favorite tweet included:

When students are fully engaged and feel a sense of joy in their own learning, they achieve a higher level of literacy.
You can tell students what to notice about books, but learning is much more powerful if they take the stance of an inquirer into literature.
By combining books in text sets, you make it possible for students to look across several texts and construct deeper understandings than they would by encountering one text after another in a random way.

Read the full chat below. 

April 11. 2018

The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning

Would you teach someone to bake a cake by simply handing over a recipe to read? Or is it better to have them measure the ingredients, pour them into a bowl, watch as the mixture changes into a batter, then end with a delicious dessert? On the surface, it may seem that we learn by taking in information by following directions, but learning is somewhere in between using what we are told and the discoveries we make ourselves. 

Fountas and Pinnell believe that when students gain information through inquiry it makes learning more meaningful and memorable. You can tell students what to notice about books, but learning is much more powerful if they take the stance of an inquirer into literature. They get inside the thinking by constructing the understanding themselves. Here are just a few of the benefits you can gain from taking an inquiry approach to text-based learning. More...

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. More...

March 29. 2018

Ask Meli! March, 2018

Meli hopes that you are all having a great school year! She reads lots of letters every day and is so happy that you take the time to write to her.

Read on to see Meli's answers to questions from her friends in Paramus, NJ!

Q: Dear Meli, Do you get along with your chickens? What is your favorite dog? What is your favorite fish? What is your favorite sport? What is your favorite park? What is your favorite color apple? - Antonio

 Hi Antonio! Thank you for all of your questions! Since red is my favorite color, I would have to pick red apples! My favorite dog is a West Highland Terrier, since that's what I am! More...