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April 6. 2017

Put Shared Reading into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™


This is part of a series of blogs on the new cohesive literacy system from Fountas and Pinnell called Fountas & Pinnell Classroom(TM) that will start releasing in August of 2017. To learn more, read the first in the series, "What is Fountas & Pinnell Classroom(TM)?

Fountas and Pinnell see Shared Reading as a time for children to gather together and listen to an exciting story or fascinating text in a warm, accepting, enjoyable environment. And the great thing is that they can actually participate in reading a more complex text than they are yet ready to process. They’re not aware that, as they listen and share the reading of an enlarged book, they are building phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, word-recognition, and much more. The children are building an early reading process while having fun as they immerse themselves in the meaning and language of books. In this highly supported participation in the act of reading, children find out how it feels to be a reader. More...


April 4. 2017

Six Ways to Guide Student Choice in Literature Study: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Selecting a book is a complex task, but one that is well worth learning. As adults, we select books that offer opportunities to relax and enjoy ourselves. While we don't specifically choose books to increase our reading skills, we may challenge ourselves to get to know a new author or genre. Students, too, might want to learn to read a new author or genre or increase the variety of their reading. Generally, however, they select books just as we do: they choose one that looks interesting. 

Initially, they may not know how to choose well, so you will want to teach them how to think about selecting a book that works best for them. Here are six ways you can show students how to choose books.

  1. Listen to a book talk and match characteristics of the book to their interests.
  2. Examine book covers, cover copy, and illustrations.
  3. Sample a bit of the text to get a feel for the language and the author's style.
  4. Think about the topic, considering their interests and previous knowledge.
  5. Think about how the book matches their own reading background and experience and whether they would need to listen to an audio version or another person read it to them.
  6. Consider whether the book will offer challenges or opportunities to expand their knowledge or skill.

Adapted from Guiding Readers and Writers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2001 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann. 

March 31. 2017

Ask Meli! March, 2017

Meli is really enjoying all of her mail!! Your letters were wonderfully written and she could tell that you all have been working hard on your reading and writing. You must have some great teachers! She has received many questions from all over the country. Here are a few examples.

Below are questions sent in from Riley, Emoneet, Ealiyah, and Caihey from Blue Jay Bird Elementary School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin! More...

March 28. 2017

Six Methods of Teaching Read-alouds to PreK Children: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Many children have gone to daycare or been part of play groups, but for some, prekindergarten is their first experience with a group read-aloud. With careful teaching, even young children new to school can follow these simple routines. Again, you will find methods of teaching that fit your class, but here's a general approach that is effective:

  1. Demonstrate the behavior yourself. Describe it in words that are simple. Tell children why it is important.
  2. Have two or three children demonstrate the behavior while the others watch (maybe in a circle). Have everyone clap when they do it well.
  3. Have everyone demonstrate the behavior and clap for themselves.
  4. Insist on the behavior every time with gentle reminders and more demonstration as needed. (If you constantly allow deviations, children will become confused about your expectations.)
  5. Give specific praise to the children when they demonstrate the expected behavior.
  6. Use positive commands whenever possible; tell children what to so rather than what not to do.

Adapted from Literacy Beginnings by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2011 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.