December 27. 2016

Cut Across the Path of Literacy Failure: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell on Intervening Early

The early years of school are important for every child, but for those who find literacy learning difficult, every one of these years is critical. Intervention must be effective and focused on outcomes rather than simply on numbers of children served. The most effective intervention is implemented early in a child’s school career—before the cycle of failure is established. 

If you intervene to help readers who struggle, you want to do so in a way that will prevent further difficulties. The ability to observe and interpret reading behavior is foundational to effective teaching of struggling readers. Fountas and Pinnell talk extensively in their book, When Readers Struggle, about the essential experiences needed to support young children who find literacy difficult.

Ensure these essential literacy experiences daily: 

1. Talk—evaluate whether your students have enough time to talk with others and share their stories.

2. Texts—engage students in a large amount of continuous text from various genres that are of interest, are age/grade appropriate, and can be read with fluency and comprehension.

3. Teach—provide explicit, clear, effective instruction based on the observed behavior of your students.


A literate life is the right of every child—even (or especially) those who initially find it difficult. Excerpted and adapted from When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works.


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