November 29. 2016

Nurture Young Learners’ Curiosity through Inquiry, A tip from Fountas and Pinnell on Early Literacy Learning

All children need the opportunity for play and inquiry. A rich and joyful early literacy environment in which reading, writing, and talking are part of play, often become play. We must remember that children, especially young children, learn through play. Play enhances language and literacy learning. When your teaching is inquiry-oriented, you enable young children to learn how to learn, investigate and discover new understandings, and pose wonderings about the possibilities.

 

With two kinds of inquiry, information seeking and wondering, children are immersed in constructive learning that results in an exciting, meaningful expansion of knowledge that continues through life. Fountas and Pinnell discuss the inquiry process in depth in their book, Literacy Beginnings.

 

Try these four simple steps of the inquiry process to guide your teaching and propel literacy learning:

1. Playful Exploration (Notice, Wonder)

2. Define Questions (Plan for Observing)

3. Find Out (Investigate, Explore)

4. Share Learning (Discuss, Draw Conclusions)

November 22. 2016

Provide a Daily Dose of Interactive Read-Aloud, A tip from Fountas and Pinnell to Engage Readers in Thinking and Talking about Texts

Interactive read-aloud requires highly intentional teaching. As you are choosing books for your read-aloud, above all, be sure that the story, language, and illustrations are highly engaging to children. In using interactive read-aloud as a teaching approach, you and your students will have productive conversations about books if you follow these steps.                                                             

 

Try them in your next read-aloud.

1. Plan opening remarks: engage students’ active thinking

2. Stop to invite quick comments during reading: promote student thinking within, beyond, and about the text.

3. Discuss the text after reading: attend to students overall meaning, implications for learning, and attention to writer’s craft.

4. Plan an engaging, inquiry-based activity following reading (art, writing, drawing, etc.).

 

Interactive read-aloud grows shared literary knowledge. The read-aloud levels the playing field, ensuring that readers in the classroom experience rich, interesting texts that are age and grade appropriate, regardless of their independent and instructional reading levels. All students can think and talk about the text even if they can’t read it for themselves.

 

Excerpted with adaptations from Literacy Beginnings and Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency

November 18. 2016

November Twitter Chat on Guided Reading, Second Edition, Part 1

On Thursday, November 17th, authors Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted part one of a Twitter chat on Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition. People from all over the country logged in to discuss important topics such as, why observation and interpretation of students' literacy behaviors are so critical to high-impact teaching within guided reading. Teachers tweeted about how they use responsive teaching in their own classrooms to elevate their guided reading lessons, while Fountas and Pinnell offered words of advice and encouragement such as, "Instead of expecting students to be where you are, you have to bring the teaching to where they are."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) for part two of the Guided Reading Twitter chat with Fountas and Pinnell. More...

November 15. 2016

Unlock a Text Through Effective Book Introductions, A Tip from Fountas and Pinnell

Text introductions are critical. You need to provide just enough information to ensure that students will be able to problem-solve or process increasingly challenging texts successfully. Your job is to unlock the text, make it more accessible, and then allow readers to use their "in-the-head" systems of strategic actions to think about and problem-solve their way through the text.

The introduction should be conversational. The way you shape the conversation can help you attend to anything your students need to know how to do in relation to the text. You want to provide scaffolds that will enable readers to access the full meaning, the language, and the print.

Try this: As you plan your brief introductions, think about the reading process, the demands of the text, and the readers' strengths and needs.

Refer to Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency for suggested teaching moves to support comprehending and fluency in text introductions.

November 10. 2016

The Importance of Guided Reading Within a Multi-text Approach

In Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition, Fountas and Pinnell emphasize that “small-group instruction is more powerful when nested within a variety of instructional contexts with varying levels of support,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017). You start with high teacher support in shared reading and interactive read-aloud, and gradually release the control over to the students through guided reading and independent reading, while book clubs and literature discussion are woven throughout. The level of support will vary, however, depending on the demands of the text and the level of control by readers, which can fluctuate at any point in time. More...

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. More...