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Daily Lit Bit

January 30. 2018

7 Tips for Engaging Struggling Readers in Independent Reading

As they engage in independent reading, students have many opportunities to process texts with ease and understanding. You'll want to guide struggling readers as they select books for themselves, but ultimately they must have the motivation of choice. Initially, they may wish to pretend to read harder books, but this is completely non-productive. Of all the students in the class, it is most important for struggling readers to successfully engage in independent processing. Here are several suggestions:

  1. Determine students' reading levels.
  2. Include in the classroom collection a good selection of books that are within students' reading ranges. Look for books that are interesting, and include a good variety. Informational texts may be especially helpful.
  3. Emphasize in minilessons the importance of selecting books that are interesting and "just right" for readers at the time.
  4. Create a supportive social environment in which individual selections are valued.
  5. Present both higher- and lower-level books in your "book talks" (short reviews to interest students in books).
  6. For students having special difficulty, pre-select some books from which these students then have a limited choice.
  7. Use individual conferences to support student reading and help students "rehearse" what to write about or talk about relative to their reading.

From When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2009 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
January 23. 2018

3 Tips for Forming LLI Groups

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

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

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

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

January 17. 2018

Daily Lit Bit - 1/17/18

The beautifully crafted original texts in Guided Reading help to build each student’s ability to process increasingly challenging books with fluency and comprehension, while an exquisite collection of original texts (enlarged and small versions) make up Shared Reading, which is a highly supportive context in which you can nurture students' ability to construct meaning.

January 16. 2018

Teacher Tip: Sharing Guided Reading Texts Among Several Classrooms

You may be sharing guided reading texts with a team of fellow teachers. If so, consider the following tips and ideas for coordinating the use of the texts and accompanying lessons.

  • Meet before the school year begins to create a plan for sharing the books and lessons.
  • Store books in an area that is easily accessible to all teachers who are sharing them. You may wish to create a book room for your school. A book room houses a wide range of leveled books from levels A through Z that you share with your team. Books and accompanying lessons are stored together in bags and organized in bins by level.
  • You may wish to create a simple check-out system for keeping track of which classroom is using which titles.

For detailed advice on how to create and use a school book room, see Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades or Leveled Books for Readers.

From Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.