January 31. 2017

Twelve Tips for Powerful Teaching in Guided Reading Lessons: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

The following are some guiding principles that may help you get more power in your teaching.

  1. Notice the student’s precise reading behaviors.
  2. Eliminate ineffective behaviors and help the reader do what proficient readers do.
  3. Select a text on which the reader can learn how to read better- not too difficult and not too easy.
  4. Teach the reader not the text.
  5. Teach the student to read written language not words.
  6. Teach for the student to initiate effective problem-solving actions.
  7. Use clear precise language that passes the control to the reader. 
  8. Only ask the student to do what you know he can do.
  9. Don’t clutter the teaching with too much talk.
  10. Focus on self-monitoring and self-regulating behaviors so the reader becomes independent.
  11. Build on examples of successful processing.
  12. Teach for fast responding so the reader can process smoothly and efficiently.

For more, check out http://www.fountasandpinnell.com/guidedreading/

January 26. 2017

What Is the Difference Between Guided Reading and Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)?


We have received a lot of questions from teachers recently about how the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention Systems differ from guided reading. Here is a rundown of what they are, how they are alike, and how they differ. “We believe that a literate life is the right of every child, and most children need expert teaching to have access to that life,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).


What is Guided Reading?

Guided reading is one component of a comprehensive language and literacy framework for classroom instruction; it is not the only context that contributes to a student’s reading growth. Across many contexts, students receive instruction in reading comprehension, phonics/word study, and writing. The texts should be accessible to each student in the group with the support of skilled teaching, which means that the text should offer some challenges. Each lesson should show students how to “think like readers and expand their in-the-head network of systems of strategic actions,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). 

What is LLI?

LLI is a literacy intervention system for students who find reading and writing difficult. The objective is to bring struggling readers and writers to grade-level competency. LLI is a systematically designed, sequenced, short, supplementary lesson that builds on high-quality classroom instruction. The instruction is highly concentrated in reading, writing, and phonics.  Even with many high-quality literacy opportunities, some students struggle with literacy learning. LLI gets them back on track so they can benefit fully from classroom instruction. Its goal is to give students the boost they need to read at the same level as their peers. 

How are they the same?

Both guided reading and LLI are daily, small-group instruction that helps students develop proficient systems of strategic actions for reading. 

The purpose of both guided reading and LLI is to develop a deep understanding that blossoms into an appreciation of the craft of writing, expansion of thinking, and increased enjoyment, which are goals for every year of school. 

Benchmark Assessment Systems should be used to determine the instructional level for each student in both LLI and guided reading.

How are they different?

Purpose. LLI is meant to supplement classroom instruction, whereas guided reading is differentiated classroom instruction. 

Students. Guided reading is used with all students while LLI is used with readers who are having difficulty and are reading below grade level.

Duration. LLI is a temporary, short-term intervention (10 to 24 weeks depending on which system is being used), while guided reading is ongoing across elementary school years. 

Materials. Leveled books are used for both guided reading and LLI. The texts in LLI, however, are designed specifically for the system and placed in a preplanned sequence, while the leveled texts for guided reading are selected by the teacher for the group.

Grouping. In guided reading, students who are similar in their reading development are placed in small groups of 4 to 8. In LLI, students are also grouped according to similar instructional levels, but in groups of 3, moving up to a maximum of 4 for upper grades.

Time. In guided reading, lessons should take approximately 15 to 25 minutes daily, while LLI lessons are 30 minutes daily, stretching to 45 minutes for upper elementary grades.

Teacher. Guided reading lessons are given by the classroom teacher. LLI lessons can be given by classroom teachers, but are usually done by an interventionist or literacy specialist.  

For more information on LLI and Guided Reading resources, visit www.fountasandpinnell.com.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Team

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January 24. 2017

How to Create a Script for Readers’ Theater: A Teacher Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

Readers’ theater is a dynamic process that is easy to implement in elementary classrooms. It is a fast and engaging way of making any literary text a type of play. Readers’ theater allows students to interpret characters’ feelings and attributes; learn new vocabulary words and language structure; practice expressive reading for an authentic purpose; build oral expression and speaking skills; and engage in oral reading for an authentic purpose.  Many readers’ theater scripts are downloadable from the Internet but here’s how you can create your own:

1. Select an appropriate fiction or nonfiction text. 

2. Decide which parts to turn into a dialogue and narrative.

3. Have students work together to assign parts (characters and narrator).

4. Have students read the parts silently and think about how they will read them aloud.

5. Have students read the script a couple of times.

6. Have students read the script to others (optional).

Adapted from Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. © 2017 by Fountas and Pinnell.


January 19. 2017

Guided Reading Twitter Chat with Fountas and Pinnell, Part 2 from 1/12/2017

On Thursday, January 12th, authors Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted part two 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, how teachers make decisions about what is important to teach for at each guided reading level, and how an effective book introduction can unlock a text for students in a guided reading lesson. Teachers tweeted about how the use of instructional level texts within guided reading challenges and advances the reading power of students, while Fountas and Pinnell offered words of advice and encouragement such as, "A level is not a score; it stands for a set of behaviors that teachers can observe for evidence of, teach for, and reinforce at every level readers."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) as we begin an exciting chat series on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom—our forthcoming classroom-based literacy system.