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April 23. 2018

Teacher Tip: 5 Effective Practices for Teaching with Text Sets

A text set is a collection of two or more books that can be connected because they have common features. They connect books in a way that helps students build specific understandings from book to book. Here are five effective practices for teaching with text sets:

  • Texts are versatile. A single text can be part of many different sets. A text set need not be a static collection. 
  • After students experience a text set, encourage them to suggest other titles that are connected. 
  • Keep lists of potential text sets rather than assembling them physically to allow more flexibility in how you use individual books. If you have a list, and a system for storing books for quick retrieval, text sets can easily be assembled when needed. 
  • Keep an eye out for new titles to add to your text sets. 
  • Pull from text sets clear examples of particular characteristics for reading and writing minilessons.

From The Literacy Quick Guide: A Reference Tool for Responsive Literacy Teaching by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2018 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

April 20. 2018

TWITTER CHAT RECAP: The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning

On Thursday, April 19th, Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted a Twitter Chat on The Importance of Inquiry in Text-Based Learning. People across the country joined to share their thoughts about the inquiry process.

Some favorite tweet included:

When students are fully engaged and feel a sense of joy in their own learning, they achieve a higher level of literacy.
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.
By combining books in text sets, you make it possible for students to look across several texts and construct deeper understandings than they would by encountering one text after another in a random way.

Read the full chat below. 

April 20. 2018

FAQ Friday: Are There Plans to Add Books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System?

Q: Are there plans to add books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System?

A: There are no plans to add books to the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. We feel that the two books at each level (one fiction, one nonfiction) are all that is needed. If you use a book for an assessment conference at the beginning of the year, the child will likely be reading at a different level by the next conference interval. If for some reason this is not the case, use the alternate book at that level. Furthermore, if a book is too hard for a child, you should discontinue the reading. You can use this book again if the child read very little of it months before.

If you are finding that a student is not progressing, take a look at The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum for that level to see in what behaviors the student may be lacking. Then, try and focus your teaching around cultivating those behaviors.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>

April 17. 2018

Teacher Tip: Conduct a Self-Assessment to Elevate Your Teaching

Take the time to reflect on your teaching. Select one instructional setting a week and analyze: How did it go? How did students respond? What shifts in learning are you confident that took place? Don’t get mired in the details or expect to do everything perfectly, but notice whether you and your students are beginning to handle routines smoothly and automatically, leaving more time for rich talk and thinking. Call in a colleague to observe, and talk through your self-assessment with her. 

For the purpose of guided reading, we include a Self-Assessment for Guided Reading on p.590 of Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades and in Online Resources (resources.fountasandpinnell.com). It is comprehensive, but you can select one or only a few areas at a time. We also include a simpler and more abbreviated self-reflection form (Self-Assessment: Getting Started with Guided Reading). In our other professional books and on our website, you will find many such tools to support your continuous learning. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of self-reflection and professional development is the talk and problem solving that takes place between colleagues as a result.

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

April 13. 2018

FAQ Friday: What are the Major Differences Between Benchmark Assessment System, Second and Third Editions?

Q: What are the major differences between Benchmark Assessment System, Second and Third Editions?

  • New Comprehension Conversation Scoring Rubrics. The new rubrics enable more rigorous and consistent administration, analysis, and scoring. 
  • Revised Comprehension Conversation scoring. We have found that teachers need more guidance on how to conduct the Comprehension Conversation portion of the reading record. To provide this help, we have more clearly defined this process through the creation of a new rubric and have updated the scoring criteria. As a result, there will be more consistency and accuracy in scoring this portion of the assessment. Elimination of the extra point will bring greater consistency of scoring among teachers. 
  • Updates to the Assessment Guides, Recording Forms, Online Data Management System, and the Benchmark Assessment System Reading Record Apps
  • Enhanced digital delivery and elimination of physical CDs and DVDs. All Recording Forms, Summary Forms, optional assessments, and all NEW Professional Development Videos and Tutorial Videos are now available on Online Resources. In an effort to meet the changing technology landscape, we are eliminating the inclusion of any CDs or DVDs in the system. A unique product code, available on the inside front cover of each Third Edition Assessment Guide, will "unlock" the content in Online Resources. 
  • All new student and teacher video examples on the Professional Development Videos. Video examples are updated with all new content, including the new prompts and scoring for the comprehension conversation. 
  • Benchmark Assessment books revised for factual information in nonfiction and other minor changes in fiction and nonfiction.

<<To see more FAQs or get answers to other questions from a trained consultant, please visit the Discussion Board!>>