February 28. 2017

Use Interactive Writing as an Opportunity for Children to Learn About Letters: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Early experiences in interactive writing offer kindergarten children an opportunity to learn about letters. At the same time, even though that have very limited knowledge of literacy, they are participating in the construction of a meaningful text. Working with with letters within a known text is a more powerful learning experience than simply working with a letter in isolation. Children are highly engaged because they see that letters have a purpose. And, when they read and write, they must recognize letters that are embedded in words that are embedded in sentences.

During interactive writing, you can draw children's attention to letters and help them learn how to look at them by using the following teaching directives:

  • Have the children say the name of the letter (m).
  • Talk about the features of the letters (a stick and two humps).
  • Demonstrate the motions necessary to make the letter.
  • Talk about the motions while making them (pull down, over and down, over and down).
  • Have the children trace the letter in the air on the floor, talking aloud about the motions while making them.
  • Show the children how to check the letter against a model (alphabet chart or name chart).
  • Show the children how to make connections between the letter and known words, particularly names.
Adapted from Interactive Writing: How Language & Literacy Come Together, K-2 by Andrea McCarrier, Irene C. Fountas, and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2000 by Andrea McCarrier, Irene C. Fountas, and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

February 24. 2017

Build COHERENCE in Your Classroom with a Multi-text Approach to Literacy Instruction

Fountas and Pinnell  believe that learning deepens when students think, talk, read, and write about authentic texts across many different instructional contexts. They believe that each instructional context should work as a coherent system that improves student outcomes, and creates literacy opportunities for the whole school. In their new system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom, each context works together in a cohesive manner to support the literacy learning of every student. “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).

The instructional contexts are: interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, and book clubs/literature discussion. 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. 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).

Keep an eye out for release dates and more information on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom here to learn when you can start to build COHERENCE in your classroom.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

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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.

February 21. 2017

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Webinar Now Available in the Resource Library

In case you missed it, the first webinar in our Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Webinar Series is now posted in our Resource Library. 

Watch Now

This 1 hour webinar hosted by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell will introduce you to Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™, a cohesive, multi-text approach to literacy instruction for all students in grades PreK–6. 

And stay tuned for more information about the forthcoming Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ webinar announcements as we dive deeper into each instructional context over the next several months. 


February 21. 2017

Ideas for Ways to Help Children Learn a New Word: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Struggling readers need to build a core of words that they know quickly and automatically--that they can recognize without effort. They also need to develop a system for learning how to learn words. Here are some ideas for ways to help children look at and learn a new word:

1. Use language that makes it clear you are talking about a word: "This word is _____." (Some children confuse letters and words.)

2. Tell children to look at the beginning of the word and show them what that means (first letter on the left).

3. Read the word to children as you run your finger under the word, left to right.

4. Ask children to look closely at the word and say what they notice at the beginning.

5. Ask them to look at the word and then read it as they use a finger to check it, left to right.

6. Remind them of another word that will help them remember a new word: an, and; the, then.

7. Help children notice the first letter and then look at the rest of the letters in the word, left to right, to notice more.

8. Give children magnetic letters in order to build the word left to right.

9. After building the word, have children take it apart and build it several times.

10. After building the word several times, have children write the word.

11. Show children how to check the word they have written letter by letter: a, a, n, n, d, d.

12. Have children, using magnetic letters, break the word apart by pulling down the first letter (s) and then the rest of the letters, e.g., s-ee, th-e.

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.


February 17. 2017

Twitter Chat Recap on the NEW Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

On Thursday, February 16, Heinemann hosted a Twitter Chat in which they interviewed authors Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell about their newest system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). People from all over the country followed along in order to learn more about this exciting, first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. Educators were highly engaged making #FPLiteracy the #1 trending hashtag for the entire hour-long chat, and well into the night. Followers learned about everything from the instructional contexts that make up FPC to what is at the heart of the system. They learned about the many components and high-quality texts that are included while gaining insight into the philosophy that went into its creation.

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) as we continue the exciting chat series on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!