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March 23. 2018

Writing Opportunities Within Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

Students learn to write by writing. While the names Fountas and Pinnell have become synonymous with reading instruction, they believe that both reading and writing are what make up a comprehensive literacy design. Opportunities for students to write within and outside of the context of reading are woven throughout their new system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). Read on to learn how.

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom is made up of seven instructional contexts: interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, book clubs, independent reading, phonics, spelling, and word study, and reading minilessons. Below is a breakdown of how writing is incorporated into each of those contexts.

Interactive Read-Aloud

Within each FPC Interactive Read-Aloud lesson there is a section called Respond to the Text. Here, you can give students an opportunity to share their thinking about the text you have just read through shared writing, interactive writing, or independent writing. Reading Minilessons There are four types of minilessons within The Reading Minilessons Book—Management, Literary Analysis, Strategies and Skills, and Writing About Reading. The Writing About Reading minilessons are concise, explicit lessons with a powerful application in building students’ independent reading competencies. The Writing About Reading minilessons introduce the reader’s notebook and help students use this important tool for reflecting on their reading and documenting their reading life for the year. Also, within the other types of reading minilessons, there are optional suggestions for extending the learning of the minilesson over time or in other contexts in an optional section called, Extend the Lesson. Finally, the last page of many of the umbrellas there is a section called Link to Writing where students are offered suggestions for writing/drawing about reading in a reader’s notebook.

Shared Reading

Each lesson in the FPC Shared Reading Collection has a section called Respond to the Text. This is where you can expand students’ thinking about the reading with suggestions that include art activities, drama, research, and shared or interactive writing.

Independent Reading

After conferring with a student about the book he is reading and learning his thoughts on the text, you may want to encourage him to expand his thinking about the book through writing or drawing. The Conferring Cards that accompany each title within the FPC Independent Reading Collection has Writing About Reading Prompts. You can choose or modify these prompts that would best support and extend the student’s understanding of the text.

Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study

Fountas and Pinnell believe that explicit phonics instruction should be both out of text (outside of reading instruction) and in text (embedded within reading instruction). Both can be systematic; both can be explicit; both are essential. The lessons within the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System provide explicit phonics instruction out of text, but each lesson provides suggestions for extending the learning through explicit instruction in text. For example, they include specific suggestions to use in interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, and independent reading and writing.

Guided Reading

Each lesson in the FPC Guided Reading Collection has an optional Writing About Reading section. This section offers suggestions for students to reflect and expand their thinking on the book they are reading, through shared, interactive, and independent writing activities. Choose topics that evoke the most interest and conversation.

Book Clubs

Occasionally teachers may want to encourage students to expand their thinking about a book they have just read through writing in their reader’s notebooks. Each Discussion Card in the FPC Book Club Collection provides suggested topics that the teacher can give students to reflect and expand on through writing, after the discussion.

By connecting learning across these instructional contexts, you ensure that students make connections to the texts that they're reading and writing about and find authentic application for their learning. When students spend their time thinking, reading, writing, and talking every day, they get a message about what is valued in your classroom and they begin to develop their own values. The act/process of reading and the reader's response through talk and writing are powerful tools for high-impact teaching.

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March 16. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Can I Ensure That I Am Conducting the Benchmark Assessment in a Standardized Manner?

Q: How can I ensure that I am conducting the Benchmark Assessment in a standardized manner?

A: The precise steps of the assessment conference are described in the Assessment Guides and are systematically presented on the Recording Form for each book. Remember to keep your own language spare and to avoid teaching or leading the student to answers. The introduction to each Benchmark Assessment book is standardized and printed on the cover as well as on the Recording Form. The steps for administration, scoring, and analysis are all standardized and explained in detail in the Assessment Guides. In addition, the tools supporting the assessment, such as the F&P Calculator/ Stopwatch, the Coding and Scoring at-a-Glance chart, and the comprehension conversation rubrics, provide an easy way to maintain consistency across assessments and help you internalize the steps in the process. Furthermore, the Professional Development Videos provide clear examples and plenty of practice opportunities for developing precision and consistency throughout assessment conferences.

March 9. 2018

FAQ Friday: Do the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Shared Reading Books Have Levels?

Q: Do the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Shared Reading books have levels?

A: The books in the Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Shared Reading Collection do not have levels. Levels are only used in guided reading instruction.

In the early years, shared reading provides easy entry into behaving like a reader. It helps students understand how to find and use information from print—directional movement, one-to-one correspondence, words and letters, and the whole act of reading and understanding a story or nonfiction text. As readers become more proficient, shared reading continues to offer opportunities for more advanced reading work than students can do independently. Supported by the group, they can take on more complex texts; and, with your teaching, they can learn a great deal which they can then apply in guided and independent reading.

March 2. 2018

FAQ Friday: What Are the Main Differences Between the Intermediate and Primary LLI Systems?

Q: What are the main differences between the intermediate and primary Leveled Literacy Intervention Systems?

A: There are several differences as the Red System is the first in the series of Leveled Literacy Intervention systems designed specifically for intermediate, middle-level, and secondary-level students. See the research foundation paper at www.fountasandpinnell.com/resourcelibrary/. The Red, Gold, Purple and Teal systems are built on a foundation of research related to preadolescent and adolescent literacy that is reflected in the design of the lessons. Each color in the system is designed to provide high-interest books for the grade level. The books in the Red and Gold System are designed to appeal to students in grades 3 and 4. The books in the Purple and Teal System are designed to appeal to middle and high school students. Compared to the Orange, Green, and Blue systems, you will find a higher ratio of nonfiction texts (60%), and many are longer with additional nonfiction text features. The Red, Gold, Purple, and Teal System lessons are designed for daily 45-minute instruction and include a variety of instructional procedures that differ from the other systems. In addition, there is a novel study sequence at the end of every level with a four-lesson optional test preparation sequence in the intermediate and middle/high school systems. We believe you will find that the Red, Gold, Purple, and Teal systems increase the intensity of the instruction to meet the needs of students who may have been struggling with reading for a longer time and at the same time are challenged by higher-level text demands.
February 23. 2018

FAQ Friday: Should I tell families the level I am working on in LLI?

Q: Should I tell families the level I am working on in Leveled Literacy Intervention?

A: We don’t believe it’s necessary to share levels with families; rather you should focus on the continuous progress children are making. Show them the books their child was reading at the beginning of LLI and what he or she is reading now. Help them look at the books to understand progress. Explain that the level helps you to monitor progress and teach the child. Try to avoid the “level” being something that parents and caregivers focus on too much.

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

January 26. 2018

FAQ Friday - 1/26/18

Q: What if my Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) group reaches the end of a level and I am not sure they are ready to move to the next level?

A: Look carefully at the recent reading records. Then look at the first lesson for the next higher level. If you think they need more time, “borrow” from the same level in one of the other LLI systems. If you don’t have the other systems, then find more books on the same level and create your own lessons using the same lesson framework. Review the phonics and word work from the level you are just finishing. Be sure you are teaching hard for areas that are holding them back. When children are ready to move up in the text level, recent reading records should show (1) high accuracy rates, (2) evidence of fluent reading (after level C), and (3) good comprehension.

January 12. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Often Should the Benchmark Assessment Be Administered?

Q: How often should the Benchmark Assessment be administered?

A: We suggest that you administer the assessment at the beginning of the year to help you determine where to start your teaching with each child. You may also want to conduct the assessment in the middle of the year, to take stock of progress, though you may already have the information from your ongoing use of reading records in instruction. Finally, near the end of the year you may want to conduct one more assessment to obtain a final record of the child's growth across the year. You may decide to administer the last assessment a couple of months before the end of the year. In this case, the assessment can provide information for instruction during the last months of school, while avoiding the redundancy of testing at the very end of one year and the beginning of the next.
January 5. 2018

FAQ Friday: Is Professional Development Available for FPC?

Q: Is professional development available for Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC)?

A: There are several professional development options for FPC.

Included with your FPC Purchase:

Optional Fee-Based:

  • On-Site: One-day, on-site seminars for each instructional context and an FPC Overview seminar
  • Off-Site: Multi-day FPC Institute designed and delivered by Fountas and Pinell for extensive learning. May 21-24, 2018, Dallas, TX.
  • Online: Interact digitally with Fountas & Pinnell-trained consultants. Multiple interactive webinars for each instructional context and an FPC Overview webinar
  • Custom: 10-day custom PD plan for schools/districts that have purchased the whole FPC System.

For additional information and pricing, please visit: http://www.fountasandpinnell.com/professionaldevelopment/ or call 800-225-5800 x1100.
December 22. 2017

FAQ Friday: Can a Child Look at the Book During the Comprehension Conversation?

Q: Can a child look at the book during the comprehension conversation?

A: Yes. One purpose of the Benchmark Assessment System is to give you information to guide your instruction. If a child has to look back as a reminder it doesn’t necessarily mean the child doesn’t understand or remember. Perhaps the child doesn’t feel confident in his or her memory or talking about the text without that confirming look. Reinforcement and prompts to talk about texts without always looking back may build the child's confidence. The teacher needs to know the student and note such observations of behaviors that provide evidence of thinking and analyze the child’s thinking at that point in time.