March 17. 2017

Fountas & Pinnell Twitter Chat RECAP on Putting Interactive Read-Aloud into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom


On Thursday, March 16, Heinemann hosted a Twitter Chat in which they interviewed authors Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell about the role of Interactive Read-Aloud (IRA) in their newest system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). People from all over the country followed along in order to learn more about putting Interactive Read-Aloud into action with this exciting, first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. Followers learned about everything from the importance of Interactive Read-Aloud within a classroom literacy system to how teachers can engage readers in meaningful discussion through IRA. They also learned about the resources that make up the IRA component in FPC, such as the content that makes up the lessons and the process in which the books were chosen. Some favorite tweets included:

"Reading aloud to students is not a luxury but a necessity."
"All students can think and talk about the text, even if they can't read it it for themselves."
"Reading aloud is an essential foundation of a good language and literature system."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) as we continue the exciting chat series on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!


March 14. 2017

Guidelines for Selecting Books for Interactive Read-Aloud: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Sometimes teachers are tempted simply to pick up a handy book and read it, and it is certainly true that students can enjoy and benefit from any wonderful book. But if you want to get the most instructional power from interactive read-aloud, it is important to plan for teaching in a more precise way. Here are some guidelines for selecting books for interactive read-aloud.

  • Look for texts that you know your students will love (funny, exciting, connected to their experiences, able to extend their thinking.)
  • Select texts appropriate to the age and interests of your students.
  • Select texts that are of high quality (award winners, excellent authors, high-quality illustrations).
  • Plan selections so that you present a variety of cultures; help students see things from different perspectives.
  • Choose texts that help students understand how people have responded to life's challenges.
  • Consider books on the significant issues in the age group--peer pressure, friendship, families, honesty, racism, competition.
  • Especially for younger readers, select texts that help them enjoy language--rhythm, rhyme, repetition.
  • Select different versions of the same story to help students make comparisons.
  • Evaluate the texts to be sure the ideas and concepts can be understood by your students.
  • Plan selections that appeal to both boys and girls.
  • Mix and connect fiction and nonfiction.
  • Repeat some texts that have been loved by former students.
  • Vary genres so that students listen to many different kinds of texts--articles, poems, fiction, informational texts.
  • Select informational texts, even if they are long; you can read some interesting parts aloud and leave the books for students to peruse on their own.
  • Choose texts that will expand your students' knowledge of others' lives and empathy.
  • Choose texts that will help students reflect on their own lives.
  • Select texts that you love and tell students about them.
  • Select texts that build on one another in various ways (sequels, themes, authors, illustrators, topics, settings, structure).
  • Link selections in ways that will help students learn something about how texts work.
  • Select books that provide good foundations for minilessons in reading and writing.
  • Consider the curriculum demands of your district; for example, link texts with social studies, science, or the cor literature program.
  • Select several texts that help listeners learn from an author's style or craft.
  • Select texts that offer artistic appreciation.
  • Select fiction and nonfiction texts on the same general topics.
  • Consider "text sets" that are connected in various ways--theme, structure, time period, issues, series, author illustrator, and genre.
Adapted from Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.


March 8. 2017

Teach the Child, Not the Program with RESPONSIVE TEACHING


Fountas and Pinnell believe that responsive teaching is teaching based on the learner and the teacher’s knowledge of the learner rather than simply knowing and using a program. Teacher expertise comes from the close observation of the learners, noticing an area that needs instruction, and being able to teach in the moment. Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) relies upon teacher expertise to be successful just as much as good teaching needs the support of high-quality materials. Fountas and Pinnell have created this system of materials and resources that allows teachers to operationalize the vision and goals of responsive teaching. Here are some of the ways responsive teaching is supported and honored in Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™.

High-Quality Texts

In order to help students fall in love with reading, give them books they want to read. Students need access to a wide range of topics, themes, genres, and forms as they participate in all instructional contexts, which are all opportunities for observation and responsive teaching. FPC is made up of the very best, age-appropriate trade books, and the most powerful, authentic, original texts. The trade books used in Interactive Read-aloud, Independent Reading, and Book Clubs promote the joy of reading while expanding vocabulary and nurturing the ability to think, talk, and write about texts.  The beautifully crafted original texts in Guided Reading help to build each student’s ability to process increasingly challenging books with fluency and comprehension, while an exquisite collection of original texts (enlarged and small versions) make up Shared Reading, which is a highly supportive context in which you can nurture students' ability to construct meaning.

Observation and Assessment to Inform Teaching Decisions

Fountas and Pinnell describe responsive teaching as "those moment-to-moment decisions that you make as you observe and analyze your students' behaviors. It is the observation and analysis of the students' reading behaviors that informs your next teaching moves," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). It's up to you to know the readers through observation. Those observations will inform you as to what books to select and what teaching decisions to make. Consider each lesson in FPC a blueprint of instructional options from which teachers select to best support each learner in the classroom.  These materials support your ability to gather student data, analyze it, and use it to set up a successful context within which you can teach successfully. 

Common Teacher Language

“Language weaves a community together, and it is developed through communication and problem solving,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Responsive teaching requires your continual attention and reflection on your students' observable behaviors and the effects of your teaching decisions on their learning. One important element is the facilitative language you use to respond to the learner. Fountas and Pinnell believe strongly that teacher language is all-important in responsive teaching. Teacher statements, prompts, and questions should be as clear and precise as possible. The tools and materials in FPC are developed in a way that will help you hone your language until it becomes internalized and you don't need to refer to the tools anymore. 

"The responsive teacher observes readers and writers very carefully, weaving a valuable set of understandings about each. Then, in a continuously evolving process, he tailors his precise responses to the readers’ strengths and needs," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

Keep an eye out for release dates and more information on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ here to learn how you can start supporting RESPONSIVE TEACHING in your classroom.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

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

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