October 5. 2016
Even with many high-quality literacy opportunities, some
students struggle with literacy learning. An intervention system gets them back
on track so they can benefit fully from classroom instruction. Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy
System (LLI) is a literacy intervention system for students who find
reading and writing difficult. Its goal is to give students the boost they need
to read at the same level as their peers.
Who is LLI for?
LLI is a rigorous,
small-group, supplementary literacy intervention system
for students who are not achieving grade-level expectations in reading and
writing, and are not receiving another form of literacy intervention. The
LLI systems are designed to bring
students from the earliest level A (kindergarten level) to level Z, which
represents the competencies needed at a middle and high school level.
LLI is based on
the F&P Text Level Gradient™.
Each level of text makes increasing demands on the reader, but the demands and
resulting changes are gradual. By actively participating in intensive lessons
on each level, readers have the opportunity to expand their reading and writing
abilities. With the support of instruction, they stretch themselves to read
more complex texts with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension—and to write with more
complexity. With these goals in mind, students effectively engage in the
reading and writing process every day, (Fountas and Pinnell 2012).
How does LLI work?
When readers struggle, there is a critical need for highly
effective, small-group intervention to get them back on track as soon as
possible. There are some basic implementation principles that are essential if
the intervention is expected to work effectively, (Fountas and Pinnell 2012).
We want interventions to be short term and intensive, with
flexible entry and exit points so that individual needs may be accommodated in
a small-group situation. If the intervention is early and effective, then the
length will be shorter; however, students who are far behind may need a year or
more of effective supplementary instruction. The layers of intervention should
be flexible enough that the teacher can group and regroup students.
Lessons must be supplemental to good classroom instruction;
it is the combination of high-quality
classroom teaching and intensive small-group intervention lessons that enable
learners to make accelerated progress, catch up with their peers, and continue
to perform at expected levels for the grade.
How long does LLI take?
Lessons must be frequent—five days a week is preferred—so
that readers can gain and sustain momentum and acceleration is possible. And,
the teacher-to-student ratio must be as low as possible. For the greatest
impact in short-term intervention, we recommend a ratio of 1:3 for children
performing at earlier levels (kindergarten, grades 1 and 2) and 1:4 for
students performing at higher levels (grades 3–12).
Who administers LLI?
Providing excellent intervention lessons depends on the
expertise of teachers. The teachers of struggling readers and writers should be
exceptionally skilled in systematic observation, in the assessment of reading behaviors,
and in teaching for the range of strategic actions that proficient readers use.
All teachers of struggling readers
(classroom and intervention teachers) need opportunities to continually increase
their understanding of the reading and writing processes and the behavioral
evidence that reveals competencies. The expert intervention teacher is able to
make effective decisions that meet the diverse needs of students.
When basic implementation requirements are in place, we need
to dig deeper into research on literacy learning and reading difficulties to
inform the design of teaching. What happens
in the intervention must affect change. Many struggling students sit in daily
30- to 45-minute intervention lessons, yet little improvement is evident in
what they are able to do independently.
Remember that progress is not enough; struggling
readers need to make faster progress than their peers, and that is the whole
purpose of intervention. They may be disengaged or bored. They may work
diligently at mechanical tasks that they do not connect in a lively way to real
reading and writing. To be effective, the intervention lessons must incorporate
everything we know about what students need to learn, especially those who are
Stephanie Tucker, Fountas and Pinnell Marketing Manager
Join the fastest growing community in the field of literacy education. Get your free membership and stay up to date on the latest news and resources from Fountas and Pinnell at www.fountasandpinnell.com
Join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group for more collaborative conversation at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/
Leveled Literacy Intervention System Guide. © 2012 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
October 5. 2016
The gradient of text and the book levels are a tool that assist the teacher in basically one task: That is to select books carefully that will offer a challenge and opportunity to learn as they work with students in guided reading instruction.
October 4. 2016
The better you know the students in your class, the more effective you will be as a teacher of reading.
October 3. 2016
The continuum does not represent neat "stages" of learning. Readers vary in what they give attention to and enjoy. And they are all different from each other. The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum. © 2017 by Fountas and Pinnell.
September 30. 2016
Assessment is the key factor in reaching the below-level reader in the upper grades. Teachers must be able to discuss effective and ineffective reading behaviors, as well as how text being read by students may or may not be supportive of new learning.
September 29. 2016
hard enough to be a kid. They have lots of things to worry about: parents,
friends, sports, grades, etc. Reading can be an escape from those worries, just
like it is for adults; it’s a way to relax and plunge yourself into someone
else’s world for a little while. But
what happens when a child finds out that they’re not reading on the “same
level” as the other children? What does that even mean to them? It’s not good,
they know that. Reading has now become another worry to add to the pile of
to climb the “level ladder” is not what reading is about. It should be about
enjoyment and discovery. Focusing too much on text levels can cause problems. Fountas
and Pinnell created the F&P Text Level Gradient ™ to be used as a teacher’s
tool for assessment and instruction. The levels aren’t meant to be shared with
the children or parents.
Help Students Build Self-Esteem and Love of
is detrimental to a student’s self-esteem and to their love of reading when
they are encouraged to measure their own progress by ‘moving up levels,’”
(Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Students should not use levels to compare
themselves with others or to compete. This is counterintuitive to building a
classroom community where each student is respected; has a sense of agency;
values collaboration over competition; and grows up seeing themselves as
Make “Choice” Authentic
students to choose by “level” is not an authentic way to select books to read
independently. That isn’t how I choose a book as an adult. In fact, I really
love reading high fantasy, young adult books with a romantic twist. Can I read War and Peace? Sure, but I devour those YA novels like candy and
that’s what we want students to do: get them to a point where they need
to read every day; they yearn for it. As much as possible, strive for them to
choose books in a way that all readers do—books that interest and engage
Advocate for the Appropriate Use of Levels in
and Pinnell believe very strongly that students’ reading levels have no place
in teacher evaluation or on report cards to be sent home to parents. Too much
emphasis on levels can lead to misconceptions on the part of families. Informing
parents of the level at which their child is reading can make them uneasy. They may see the level as a very exact
measurement, but students don’t always read at a precise level. Parents also talk
with other parents, and if they find that their child is reading at a lower
level than other children, they might panic. But they don’t understand the
intricacies of how those levels work the way you do.
Levels can be a resource for you and your colleagues to
guide student choices for independent reading, but they should not be a
limitation or a requirement. Leveled books are instructional tools for
teachers who understand them—nothing more. Above all else, a level is a
teacher’s tool, not a child’s label.
Jill Backman, Fountas & Pinnell Marketing Manager
Join the fastest growing
community in the field of literacy education. Get your free membership and stay
up to date on the latest news and resources from Fountas and Pinnell at www.fountasandpinnell.com
Join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning
Group for more collaborative conversation at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/
September 29. 2016
A teacher of guided reading does not have to wait for the results of end-of-year testing to know that the instruction is successful.
September 28. 2016
Responsive teaching brings the teaching to the child.It's not about fitting the children into a preconceived slot or sequence, but finding out what that student is interested in, what motivates them, what their hopes and desires are.
September 27. 2016
The ability to observe, analyze, and interpret reading behavior is foundation to effective teaching.
September 26. 2016
We know that teachers are individuals, and of course, you develop your own individual styles. But in pursuit of coherence, hold some things in common across the school for the benefit of student learning.