November 6. 2016

What is Responsive Teaching?

Now your classroom is all organized. You have assessed your students. You have formed your initial reading groups. Now it's time to teach! You've planned your learning tasks to hair-splitting detail. But are you prepared for when your students shift your instruction down a different path? Effective teaching requires your ability to observe your students and then turn your instruction in the direction your readers or writers take you, even if it wasn't planned. This is called responsive teaching. 

In the second edition of Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Fountas and Pinnell have directed much of their focus toward responsive teaching. "No matter how well you plan and structure learning tasks, it’s the one-on-one interactions that inform the power and effectiveness in your teaching," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). The key to effective teaching is your ability to make different decisions for different students at different times. Fountas and Pinnell urge teachers to "teach the child, not the book or program." 

Use 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 yourstudents' 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. In Guided Reading, Second Edition you will find a specific process you can use to gather student data, analyze it, and use it to set up a successful context within which you can teach successfully. The Literacy Continuum is also a powerful tool to plan for, guide, and assess teaching.

Hone Your Teacher Language

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 language you use to respond to the learner. "Over the years, we have grown in our realization that teacher language is all-important in responsive teaching. We want our statements, prompts, and questions to be as clear and precise as possible," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). Fountas and Pinnell have developed a number of tools that will help you hone your language until it becomes internalized and you don't need to refer to the tools anymore. These tools include: The Literacy Continuum, Prompting Guide Part 1 for Oral Reading and Early Writing; Prompting Guide Part 2 for Comprehension; Genre Prompting Guide for Fiction; and Genre Prompting Guide for Nonfiction, Poetry, and Test Taking.

Use 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 interactive read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, book clubs, and independent reading. This also doesn't happen overnight. A high-quality text collection is built over time. Fountas and Pinnell provide suggestions on how to develop a rich text base to support literacy. "When students encounter responsive teaching in all literacy contexts, they get a powerful message: Reading is thinking," (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). 

To learn more how you can engage in responsive teaching that supports continued growth of your students, pick up a copy of Guided Reading, Second Edition.

"The responsive teacher provides differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student. He 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).

~Jill Backman, Fountas & Pinnell Marketing Manager

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Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades.© 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching.© 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

November 1. 2016

Fountas and Pinnell receive high honors

On top of celebrating the 20th anniversary of their wildly popular publication, Guided Reading, with the release of the much-anticipated second edition, we are proud to announce that Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have both received prestigious awards for their years of work in the field of literacy. It has been a year of celebration for Fountas and Pinnell! 

Gay Su Pinnell, The Ohio State University Alumni Medalist Award Winner

At an award ceremony on October 7, Gay was awarded The Ohio State University Alumni Association's 2016 Alumni Medalist Award, the highest honor presented to a graduate of the institute. Gay was recognized for her contributions in bringing the successful Reading Recovery® to the United States.  

Gay is a professor emerita in The Ohio State’s School of Teaching and Learning. Her research into early literacy led her to Reading Recovery®, which has made profound differences in New Zealand schools. Along with two colleagues, Carol Lyons and Diane DeFord, she developed Ohio State’s Reading Recovery® program, placing the institution in a national leadership role. Each year, the Reading Recovery® program helps 55,000 first-graders across the United States move on to the next grade secure in their ability to read and write. 

In an Ohio State Twitter post from October 12, Gay was asked, "What is the one characteristic that you believe every Buckeye leader should possess?" To which she replied, "I think it is the acceptance of responsibility and the will to make the world better for all." 

Irene Fountas, Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair Recipient

On July 1, Irene was named the first recipient of the Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair in Reading Recovery®.

This is the first faculty endowed chair given by Lesley University and honors Irene as being a pioneer in the field of literacy who recognizes the importance of extending educational opportunity to every child, particularly those in the early grades who face challenges in becoming successfully literate.

Irene is the director of the Center for Reading Recover and Literacy Collaborative at Lesley University, which she founded along with others in 1990. The Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair was established by Lesley University in conjunction with the Reading Recovery Council of Massachusetts.

At an award ceremony on October 31, her colleague, Eve Konstantellou, said, "Clay would have been proud that a Chair in her name will be occupied by a scholar whom she respected and loved.  And she’d be cheering on as Irene continues to search for what is possible in the education of children and teachers in her quest to transform schools into places of joyful and authentic literacy experiences by creating a culture of teacher growth in every school."

~From all of us on the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team, CONGRATULATIONS!