search navigation
May 14. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Support English Learners in Reading Minilessons

English learners thrive in a predictable and organized classroom – one in which they know what to do and hear consistent messages every day. Management minilessons help create and reinforce a predictable learning environment in which English learners can focus attention on expanding language, reading, and writing in a safe environment.

From The Literacy Quick Guide: A Reference Tool for Responsive Literacy Teaching by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

May 11. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Long Does it Take to Administer the Benchmark Assessment to a Student?

Q: How long does it take to administer the Benchmark Assessment to a student?

A: At the earliest levels, a full assessment conference may take 20–30 minutes. At the upper levels, where the texts are longer and the conversations more substantive, it may take 30-40 minutes, but as you gain experience, the time will be shorter. Remember that the longer books have a stopping point for oral reading. Also, fluency makes a difference. In this guide, we make several suggestions for how to make efficient use of your time. Remember that each student has had a chance for one-on-one time reading and talking with the teacher.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

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 7. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Get Readers to Expand Their Thinking in a Reader's Notebook

A reader's notebook can be a useful tool for readers to collect their thinking and record it in a variety of genres and forms. Consider beginning with one thoughtful letter a week or every other week between you and your students. Here are some suggestions and ideas to help you react to, reinforce, and expand a reader’s thinking:

  • Notice the questions a reader asks and respond to each one. 
  • As you read the letter, think about what the writer is communicating to you and react as you read. Then pick up your pen and share your reactions. 
  • Share the thinking the writer brings out in you. How are you personally connecting with the reader’s thoughts? 
  • Confirm the reader’s good thinking and inquire genuinely about what you don’t understand. 
  • Think about the type of text a student is reading. How can you use your knowledge of genre characteristics to expand the reader’s understanding? Nudge the reader to think about these characteristics. 
  • After reading a student letter, review the Systems of Strategic Actions. Notice what aspects the reader is attending to and what aspects would expand the reader’s thinking about the text. Make comments that will help the reader think in new ways.
From The Literacy Quick Guide: A Reference Tool for Responsive Literacy Teaching by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
May 7. 2018

Daily Lit Bit - 5/7/18

Effective teaching is responsive to the learners. It means that you are able to notice the strengths of individuals and build on their competencies. Instead of expecting them to be where you are, you have to bring the teaching to where they are.