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September 17. 2018

Teacher Tip: Consider a Text with Your English Learners in Mind

As you examine a text for instruction, notice text factors that might be difficult for the English learners in your class. What are students' levels of background knowledge related to the topic? Think about vocabulary such as idioms, colloquialisms, contractions, and words with more than one meaning. Notice language structures, illustration support, and graphics. Consider cultural challenges.

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.

September 6. 2018

Updated Spanish Benchmark Assessment System Available NOW!

Since the release of the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) several years ago, Fountas and Pinnell received countless requests for a version that would meet the needs of their Spanish-speaking students. They travelled the country holding workshops with bilingual educators to hear their needs. And from those conversations, Sistema de evaluacion de la lectura, Grados K–2, Niveles A–N (SEL) was created. 

During their travels across the nation, Fountas and Pinnell were able to design a system that was NOT a translation of the English BAS, but was tailored to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking students using the following three powerful ideas. 

Bilingual educators need:

A Spanish assessment system based on the same principles as the F&P Text Level Gradient™.

Original Spanish books that were not translations of English books, but high-quality, truly authentic Spanish books written originally by native Spanish-language writers.

Books that have been carefully leveled by bilingual educators with special attention to the language needs of Spanish-speaking students.

Using these three ideas, Fountas and Pinnell carefully planned, designed, and tested SEL. They worked with expert native Spanish-language writers who provided the authentic, original texts, and with Latino illustrators who produced culturally relevant, original artwork for these books. They met and consulted with experts in the field of bilingual education who carefully reviewed the books with them. Then they tested the books at multiple school sites across the nation, relying on the expertise of seasoned bilingual children and analyzed the results.

Sistema de evaluacion de la lectura, Niveles A–N is an effective tool in supporting educators help students develop their literacy skills and lead them not only to academic success, but to successful, fulfilling life as passionate readers and inquisitive learners. 

SEL has now been updated to align with the third edition of BAS.  Learn more HERE.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team 
August 20. 2018

Teacher Tip: Work Actively to Create Inclusion

It is not enough to create acceptance; you also have to work actively to include students. Take the attitude that all students in the class have much to learn from each other; they have the responsibility and opportunity to help their peers learn. 

Walk into your empty classroom. Does it extend a welcome to every student? Are their names prominent? They should see themselves and their work on the walls. Work hard to pronounce their names correctly. Ask also for their name in their native language. They will enjoy helping you, and in the process, you are communicating not only that they are important, but also that you value their languages even if you cannot speak them. For example, if you are reading aloud or talking about a new word, ask students how the word would be said in another language (like Spanish or Urdu). You can easily put common phrases like “please and thank you” or “good morning” on the wall in every language represented in your classroom. All students will enjoy using a bit of another language.

From Guiding Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

July 13. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Does FPC Support ELLs?

Q: How does Fountas & Pinnell Classroom support English language learners?

A: Each lesson in FPC contains numerous suggestions for modifying or scaffolding instruction to support English learners in processing the text, using language to participate in discussions, and benefiting from the teaching.

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

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.

March 27. 2018

Teacher Tip: Support English Language Learners Through Multiple Modes of Communication

To support English language learners, you will not want to depend solely on oral language, especially with children who have newly arrived from another country and have very limited understanding of English. Think what it is like to listen to a string of directions and remember them; then think what it would be like to listen to it in a language that you are only beginning to learn. Use other means of communication:

  • Act it out.
  • Demonstrate explicitly what you want students to do.
  • If it's complicated, have them "walk through it," acting out what they will do (or have a few students demonstrate while others watch).
  • Seek the support of another student who also speaks the student's primary language (if possible).
  • Use pictures and symbols.
  • Provide it in simple writing accompanied by illustrations if necessary.
  • If at all possible, learn some key words in the child's language.

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.