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April 11. 2018

The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning

Would you teach someone to bake a cake by simply handing over a recipe to read? Or is it better to have them measure the ingredients, pour them into a bowl, watch as the mixture changes into a batter, then end with a delicious dessert? On the surface, it may seem that we learn by taking in information by following directions, but learning is somewhere in between using what we are told and the discoveries we make ourselves. 

Fountas and Pinnell believe that when students gain information through inquiry it makes learning more meaningful and memorable. You can tell students what to notice about books, but learning is much more powerful if they take the stance of an inquirer into literature. They get inside the thinking by constructing the understanding themselves. Here are just a few of the benefits you can gain from taking an inquiry approach to text-based learning.

Inquiry Builds Agency

Fountas and Pinnell believe that taking an inquiry approach to teaching literacy enables students to learn how to learn. They become empowered and develop a sense of agency. The process of inquiry allows students to think more critically about the decisions authors make as they plan and write texts. They believe in themselves and their ability to find out, and the process itself is inherently satisfying to them.

Encourage Curiosity 

Children are curious. It’s important to give them the tools that allow their curiosity to propel authentic learning and discovery. When children choose their own books to read, they pursue lines of inquiry that interest and engage them as learners, building content knowledge of different topics and themes across a range of disciplines. The inquiry approach takes advantage of human beings’ natural curiosity.

Use Inquiry to Know Your Students

In teacher-student inquiry, you learn alongside your students. You are intentional in your teaching, and your goal is to expand your students’ knowledge of text. You are far more of an expert than your students, but when you inquire into texts together, there is always something more to notice and be surprised by. Your students are fully engaged, and most importantly, they learn a process they can apply for the rest of their lives.  

Inquiry empowers learners to construct new meaning, and empowers teachers to teach both reading and writing in ways that make sense for our students and enable them to learn even more about reading and writing without us.

To explore the many Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ resources in which an inquiry approach to literacy learning is used, go to www.fountasandpinnell.com 

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 

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/ 
April 5. 2018

Ignite a Love of Words with the Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System

Learning how words work doesn’t have to be a boring, mundane drill. There are ways to get your students excited and engaged in active thinking about language and how it works. Fountas and Pinnell have developed a lesson structure for phonics, spelling, and word study that uses a balance of direct teaching and discovery, which will encourage students to become active examiners and analyzers of print. 

Below is the structure that Fountas and Pinnell use in their Phonics, Spelling, and Words Study System (PWS), which provide well-planned, organized, direct teaching of language principles, but also contain an element of inquiry.

The Simple Framework

Each lesson in the PWS system follows a simple structure: teach, apply, and share. Ideally, these lessons would be embedded in a design for responsive literacy teaching that offers a combination of experiences, each of which contributes uniquely to students’ literacy development. Here’s what a lesson looks like:

TEACH whole-class lessons based on a principle related to phonics. Each principle is listed and explained in The Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide, and each incorporates an element of inquiry. The inclusion of inquiry, where possible, rivets students’ attention to discovering something about language; it makes the lesson enjoyable, even exciting! Students become pattern seekers and word discoverers, which, hopefully, will be a lifelong habit.

APPLY through hands-on practice to apply the principle. Students can learn much more through these hands-on activities because they provide an experience in constructing their own knowledge. You can choose to have all the children do the Apply activity simultaneously, individually, or with a partner after the lesson, or they could rotate to a word-study center to engage in the activity during independent work time as they develop the ability to manage their own learning. 

SHARE, as students meet briefly in a whole-class meeting, to talk about the discoveries they made. This brief sharing time gives you a chance to assess the effectiveness of your lesson, return to the principle and summarize the learning, and link to reading and writing so students know how to use what they have learned.

A general goal in presenting any lesson is to pique students’ curiosity about words. We want them to seek patterns, notice similarities, take words apart and reassemble them, think about various chunks of words and what they mean, and more. When students perceive word study as word play, an important instructional goal has been achieved.

Fountas and Pinnell believe that Phonics instruction is most effective when used within a wide range of engaging literacy experiences accompanied by rigorous teaching. Download the PWS mini-sampler to learn more about the unique lesson structure for PWS, and how this system fits into a comprehensive design for classroom literacy instruction. 

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

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 

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/ 


March 29. 2018

Lift Your Professional Learning with Multi-Day Institutes

Materials themselves help teachers grow professionally, but alongside that teachers need good professional learning opportunities. Professional learning makes the work come alive. Each year, educators from around the world join Irene C. Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell, and their consultants, in multi-day professional learning institutes, and leave with new energy and understanding that will inform their teaching all year. 

Below are some of the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™-focused multi-day institutes that Heinemann offers along with information about what can be gained from these fulfilling professional learning opportunities. Not only are you expanding your learning, but you will also enjoy a night on the town in some of the best places to visit in the country with either colleagues who have joined you or new friends you've made during the day!

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™, Grades PreK–3, “Create a Coherent Vision for Literacy Learning: Getting Started with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™,” presented by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

May 21 – 24, Dallas, TX *Early-bird rate ends soon, so register now!

In this interactive four-day institute, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell will present their vision to lift students' literacy learning through authentic experiences in reading, thinking, talking, and writing using Fountas & Pinnell Classroom, a first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction.

Throughout this intensive institute, Fountas and Pinnell will show how each whole-group, small-group, and individual instructional context within Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ work together to develop coherence in the literacy learning of every student across the grades.

Built into each day will be an opportunity for administrators to have a breakout session with the authors to focus on administrator and leadership needs in implementing an ambitious vision for improving student outcomes. For more information, including pricing and a full agenda, click HERE.

Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), Grades K–2, “Teaching Readers Who Struggle and Teaching Within LLI Lessons,” developed by Fountas and Pinnell, presented by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants

April 23–24, Burlingame, CA

June 25–26, Schaumburg, IL

November 5–6, Philadelphia, PA 

In this two-day institute, presented by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, participants will focus on understanding the reading and writing challenges of students who struggle with literacy learning and how to provide effective teaching to help those students using the LLI, K–2 lessons. Participants will be provided with a deep understanding of these systems and how they can best be implemented in the classroom. You’ll review excerpts of sample lessons and instructional routines used within the lessons, learn how to monitor students using technology, and gain insight into systematically observing reading and writing behaviors that inform teaching decisions. For more information, including pricing and a full agenda, click HERE.

Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), Grades 3–12, “Intervening for Literacy Success with Intermediate, Middle, and Secondary Students,” developed by Fountas and Pinnell, presented by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants

April 25–26, Burlingame, CA

June 27–28, Schaumburg, IL

November 7–8, Philadelphia, PA 

In this interactive two-day institute, presented by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, participants will be provided with a deep understanding of the LLI, 3–12 system and how these lessons specifically meet the needs of struggling readers in those grades, and how to provide effective teaching within those lessons. Participants will learn how to code and analyze reading behaviors; gain scheduling and student grouping guidance; as well as how to use teacher language to support students’ sustained attention and comprehension of texts. For more information, including pricing and a full agenda, click HERE.

Fountas and Pinnell favor embracing the open door and becoming part of a learning community of colleagues—all of whom share common goals, take risks, and find the rewards of continuous professional growth. This takes time and problem solving but if achieved, it will have big payoff for students.

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

For a well-organized, searchable archive of FAQs and discussions that are monitored by Fountas and Pinnell-trained consultants, go to our Discussion Board at www.fountasandpinnell.com/forum 

For more collaborative conversation, join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Facebook Learning Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FountasPinnell/


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.

February 23. 2018

RECAP: Text. Talk. Teach. Twitter Chat with Fountas and Pinnell

On Thursday, February 22, Fountas and Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on the importance of fostering talk in the classroom. Below is a recap of that chat. Talking is thinking. Learn about the different ways in which you can offer your students valuable opportunities to express their thinking through TALK.
February 15. 2018

Opportunities to Foster Thoughtful Talk


Students’ talk reflects their thinking. When students talk about what they are reading, they reveal their understandings and perspectives; communicate and refine their ideas; make meaning from texts; and make connections to their own experiences. Thoughtful talk is a treasure trove of information that will help inform your teaching.

Students need robust opportunities for varied talk structures within many different instructional contexts. Here are some settings in which you can foster those opportunities! More...


January 22. 2018

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ Getting Started Videos Now Available!

If you have purchased Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC), you can now view the Getting Started Videos! These short, informative videos provide an overview to the components in your collection(s) to help you begin organizing your materials. There is a video for each instructional context–Interactive Read-Aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Independent Reading, and Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study–located in the Online Resources on the FPC Homepage. To access your Online Resources, refer to the inside front cover of your FPC Collection Guide(s)

Please note, you may only view the Getting Started Videos for the instructional contexts you have purchased.

Check out this short clip from the Interactive Read-Aloud Getting Started Video:

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January 18. 2018

How to Foster a Love of Reading Through Choice


We want our students to love reading books. We want them to go over to a book shelf, choose a book that interests them, and hurry to dive in. The ability to choose a book that interests them, as opposed to one that is assigned to them, is vital to growing that passion. Here are some ways you can foster that love through student CHOICE. More...