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.

March 23. 2017

Engaging Books: The Heart of Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™

It all begins with high-quality books. Before a lesson was conceptualized, or one word of instruction was written, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC) had already been years into development. Fountas and Pinnell, along with their talented teams of writers and skilled editors, were pouring their energy into the creation of the most powerful, authentic texts, as well as choosing the most fascinating trade books on the market to be the heart of this new system. After all, how can we teach students to love reading if we don’t give them beautiful, engaging books to read?

“We see classrooms simply ALIVE with rich, authentic, high-quality texts.” –Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

In order to have a successful literacy system, teachers need a collection of rich, powerful texts.  Below is a breakdown of the books that are included in FPC. 

Interactive Read-Aloud Books

The collection of books in the Interactive Read-Aloud context of FPC is made up of the very best, age- and grade-appropriate trade books. 120 titles per grade were chosen with very specific criteria in mind: to promote the joy of reading, expand vocabulary, and nurture the ability to think, talk, and write about texts that will fully engage students’ interests. These books are meant to stir the students’ imaginations and enhance their knowledge of the story without having to think too much about decoding words or addressing punctuation.

Shared Reading Books

Teachers need a rich variety of large-print books to engage readers in shared reading. The books in the Shared Reading context of FPC are really quite special. They are all original texts (enlarged and accompanying smaller versions) that are sure to capture the attention of the students with vibrant illustrations and interesting stories.  Some even have special features, such as flaps, cutouts, and foldouts. With 200 titles spanning over grades PreK-3, these books are meant to nurture students’ ability to construct meaning in a supported context so they can enjoy reading and learn critical concepts of how texts work. You won’t find books like this anywhere else. 

Guided Reading Books

If you love the wonderful books in the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Systems (LLI), then you will love the leveled books in the Guided Reading context of FPC. These powerful, authentic, original texts were created with the same attention and care that went into creating the LLI books. Each book was made under the careful supervision of Fountas and Pinnell themselves. The exquisiteness that makes up this collection doesn’t stop at the high-quality illustrations and images, these books are full of charming stories and fascinating texts. There are 50 titles in each level from A to Z on the F&P Text Level Gradient™. These texts are meant to build each student’s ability to process increasingly challenging books with fluency and comprehension.

Independent Reading Books

The purpose and the goal of a literacy system is to create lifelong readers who have the power of choice and enjoy the pleasure of reading. The collection of books in the Independent Reading context of FPC is made up of carefully curated children’s books that provide students with the opportunity to develop tastes as readers, and to read a large number of self-selected books independently. There are 150 titles per grade in K-2, and 200 titles per grade in 3-6 in this context of FPC. 

Book Clubs and Literature Discussion Books

The books in the Book Club/Literature Discussion context of FPC provides students with the opportunity to bring students together for in-depth discussions of captivating trade books that they have read in order to extend their thinking and learn about themselves as readers. These are books that engage the thinking of your students and that they find relevant to their own lives. There are 32 titles per grade in K-3, and 48 titles per grade at grades 4-6. They will also be made accessible as audiobooks to those students who can’t read them independently. 

“Our job as teachers is to assure our students fall in love with books and develop a passion for authors, illustrators, genres, and topics. So the first business of our teaching is to assure our students want to read,” (Fountas and Pinnell 2017).

Keep an eye out for release dates and more information on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ here to learn how you can have a successful literacy system with this collection of rich, powerful texts.  

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Team

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

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March 21. 2017

12 Suggestions for Supporting Fluency through Whole-Class Instruction: A Teacher Tip from Fountas & Pinnell

Fluency is a critical aspect of our students' development as readers, and we cannot assume that they will develop it on their own. Many children will require careful teaching in whole-group, small-group, and individual contexts; the lens of fluency can be applied to all three. Here are 12 suggestions for supporting fluent reading through whole-class instruction:

  1. Provide consistent, daily demonstrations of fluent phrased reading.
  2. Draw students' attention to aspects of fluency as you have demonstrated them in each interactive read-aloud.
  3. Focus on the meaning of the text, and reflect the meaning with your voice.
  4. Demonstrate rereading to gain fuller understanding.
  5. Draw attention to language that evokes images or has a poetic quality.
  6. Use shared reading of a common enlarged text.
  7. Teach students to use partner reading.
  8. Use readers' theater to help students find the "voice" in dialogue.
  9. Engage the whole class in choral reading of poems and longer texts.
  10. Have students select some poems to memorize.
  11. Provide many easy books in the classroom library that students can "sail through" for pleasure.
  12. Create a listening center with audio books.

Adapted from Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

March 17. 2017

Fountas & Pinnell Twitter Chat RECAP on Putting Interactive Read-Aloud into Action with Fountas & Pinnell Classroom

On Thursday, March 16, Heinemann hosted a Twitter Chat in which they interviewed authors Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell about the role of Interactive Read-Aloud (IRA) in their newest system, Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™ (FPC). People from all over the country followed along in order to learn more about putting Interactive Read-Aloud into action with this exciting, first-of-its-kind, cohesive system for high-quality classroom-based literacy instruction. Followers learned about everything from the importance of Interactive Read-Aloud within a classroom literacy system to how teachers can engage readers in meaningful discussion through IRA. They also learned about the resources that make up the IRA component in FPC, such as the content that makes up the lessons and the process in which the books were chosen. Some favorite tweets included:

"Reading aloud to students is not a luxury but a necessity."
"All students can think and talk about the text, even if they can't read it it for themselves."
"Reading aloud is an essential foundation of a good language and literature system."

To read the whole chat, click the link below. And mark your calendars to log in on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 8 p.m. (EST) as we continue the exciting chat series on Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™!