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January 19. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Long is Leveled Literacy Intervention?

Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) is a short-term program designed to bring children up to grade-level performance:

Instructional Features of the LLI Systems

LLI Primary systems: 12–18 weeks of explicit, direct instruction 30-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:3. Systematic intensive work in phonemic awareness, letters, and phonics. 

LLI Intermediate systems: 18–24 weeks of explicit, direct instruction 45-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:4. 36 Novel Study lesson for sustained reading of longer texts. 24 Optional Test Prep lessons. 

LLI Middle/High School systems: 18–24+ weeks of explicit, direct instruction 45-minutes a day, 5 days a week. Recommended teacher-to-student ratio of 1:4. 36 Novel Study lesson for sustained reading of longer texts. 24 Optional Test Prep lessons.

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.

Do NOT level the classroom library

Choosing books by level is not an authentic way to choose books. It’s not how we, as adults, choose them, so why would they? The classroom library should include attractively displayed books in a variety of genres that reflect cultural sensitivity and relevance to the age group. They should be organized by topic, author, illustrator, genre, and award-winning books that are organized into baskets or bins with the titles facing out so that students can sort through them. Forcing students to choose books by their reading level puts limitations on them. If they want to choose a book that interests them, but may be a little too easy or too hard, let them. Never take a book out of child’s hands. 

Help them choose

Initially, students may not know how to choose books well, so you will want to teach them how to think about selecting a book that works best for them. By listening to them during book talks and read-alouds, you will get to know what their interests are and be able to make recommendations. Let them examine the cover, back cover copy, and illustrations, or sample a bit of text and let them get a feel for the author’s style. Think about how a book matches to your students’ own reading backgrounds and experiences and whether they would need to listen to an audio version or another person read it to them.

Include personal space in your classroom design 

Students are always searching for their own identity. In order to help them discover what they like or don’t like they need their own space. It can be an individual desk, a cubby, even just a personal box where they can store their personal documents, reader’s notebook, writer’s notebook, independent reading books, etc. Give them a warm, accepting environment to call their own where they can lose themselves in the book that they chose for themselves.

Fountas and Pinnell believe the choice is at the heart of what it means to become a confident reader. “If you have an opportunity to choose what you read, and then to talk about it with others, maybe to draw and write about it, it builds your sense of yourself as a reader and your self-efficacy as a reader. That’s where confidence really begins,” (Fountas and Pinnell). 

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January 17. 2018

Daily Lit Bit - 1/17/18

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.

January 16. 2018

Teacher Tip: Sharing Guided Reading Texts Among Several Classrooms

You may be sharing guided reading texts with a team of fellow teachers. If so, consider the following tips and ideas for coordinating the use of the texts and accompanying lessons.

  • Meet before the school year begins to create a plan for sharing the books and lessons.
  • Store books in an area that is easily accessible to all teachers who are sharing them. You may wish to create a book room for your school. A book room houses a wide range of leveled books from levels A through Z that you share with your team. Books and accompanying lessons are stored together in bags and organized in bins by level.
  • You may wish to create a simple check-out system for keeping track of which classroom is using which titles.

For detailed advice on how to create and use a school book room, see Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades or Leveled Books for Readers.

From Fountas & Pinnell Classroom System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

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 11. 2018

Daily Lit Bit - 1/11/18

Books, and lots of them, are at the heart of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom: exciting books to stir children’s imagination, beautifully crafted books to enhance children’s language and knowledge of story, challenging books to lift every reader, and diverse books to expand readers’ life experiences and knowledge of their world.