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October 27. 2017

FAQ Friday: Why Is It Important That the Child Not Have Read the Benchmark Assessment System Books Before?

Q: Why is it important that the child not have read the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) books before? 

A: BAS is a standardized, formal assessment administered with an unseen, unfamiliar text so that the teacher can obtain observable evidence of what the child can do independently in terms of processing and understanding. In Part 1 of the assessment (oral reading), the child works through a new text while the teacher gathers reliable information on how the child solves problems. Part 2 of the assessment (the comprehension conversation) yields data on the child's ability to communicate information within, beyond, and (at Levels L-Z) about the text. In the optional Part 3 (writing about reading), students use another mode of expression to communicate their thinking about a text. The complete assessment conference provides information that helps teachers determine the appropriate instructional text level for each student and to group students for guided reading instruction. If the text is familiar to the child, or if the content is discussed previously with him or her, the assessment will not provide valid data for placement.

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

October 27. 2017

Ask Meli! October, 2017

Meli has been busy answering her fan mail! She loves reading all of your wonderful letters because you are such great writers! This month, Meli answers questions from Landon, Elle, and Will from Northwestern Elementary School in Mardela Springs, MD.

Q: Dear Meli, My group read your book "The Problem with Meli" this week. I would like to learn about you. Why does Ron take you for a walk? Do you bark anymore? I learned that you bark a lot. I thought it was interesting that you watch TV. ~Landon More...

October 24. 2017

Teacher Tip: Help Students Make Good Independent Reading Choices

Your role in independent reading is to ensure that students consistently select books they can read with understanding and fluency, and to have conversations with them about those books. You may be tempted to prescribe book choices, but this can result in a mechanical approach to reading as a “task.” Without genuine choice they will never experience the authentic role of a reader. At the same time, the ability to choose appropriate books is not something you can expect students to know how to do. It is something you need to teach. Communicate to students that choosing a just-right book, not a difficult book, is the expectation for independent reading. 

Teach students these 7 ways of judging a book choice:
Decide if the book is just right to read independently by reading a little at the beginning or middle
Think about the topic of the book to see if it peaks your interest
Read a bit of the book to get a feel for the author’s style and the language
Ask peers/teachers for recommendations
Look at the book cover, back cover, book flaps and illustrations
Think about the author and what you may already know about the author
Give the book a good chance.

Excerpted from LLI Red System Choice Library Guide to Independent Reading by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2013 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

October 20. 2017

FAQ Friday: Are there additional texts for the Benchmark Assessment System?

Q: Are there additional/supplemental texts for the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System?

A: No. The Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System revolves around the idea that students should be continuously progressing throughout the year. If a student is assessed at, for example, Level M at the beginning of the year, the goal is for them to be at level N or higher by the next assessment. In some cases, it is necessary or preferred to reassess a student at the same level, which is why each level includes two books: one fiction and one nonfiction. But beyond that, the student should really be progressing to the next level.

If you are finding that a student is 'stuck' at a level, take a look at The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum for that level to see in what behaviors the student may be lacking. Then, try and focus your teaching around cultivating those behaviors.

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

October 19. 2017

Successful Learning Communities Start with a Vision

What is your school's vision? Does everyone in your school have the same goals? What tools do you need to accomplish your vision?

Join us on Thursday, 10/26 at 8:00 p.m. (EST) for a Twitter Chat to discuss this important topic. In the meantime, take a moment to read this message from Fountas and Pinnell to learn what they envision a successful literacy community to look like. More...

October 18. 2017

Daily Lit Bit - 10/18/17

School shouldn't be a place where everything is leveled. It should resemble a library or a bookstore where books are categorized by author, by topic, by genre, anything that would interest readers. We want the readers not to see themselves as a level, but as people who are choosing books that interest them and that they want to read.