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February 27. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Use The Literacy Continuum with Leveled Literacy Intervention

At the end of each level in the Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Lesson Guides, you will find pages from The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching to help monitor progress and guide your teaching. It lists specific behaviors and understandings that are required for children to read successfully at that level. These behaviors and understandings are accumulative across the levels. They include important competencies children need to think within, beyond, and about texts. In other words, children take on new demands as the texts grow more challenging.

The LLI lessons are designed to support the goals listed in The Literacy Continuum. Your goal should be to help children meet the demands of successive levels of text and, in the process, expand their systems of strategic actions. The following suggestions may contribute to effective teaching in your lessons:

  • In advance of the lesson, read the new book with The Literacy Continuum goals in mind. 
  • Think about what your children can do, and then find behaviors and understandings that they control, partially control, or do not yet control. 
  • Read the introduction to the text and teaching points for the lesson, keeping in mind the processing needs of the readers. Make any adjustments you think are necessary to meet their needs. 
  • Look at the Phonics/Word Work and at the additional suggestions provided on The Literacy Continuum pages, and make any adjustments you feel are necessary for your group. 
  • As you near the end of a level, look at what the readers now control and what they need to know to successfully process texts at this level. 
  • As the readers grow more proficient and reading becomes easy at the level, look ahead to the The Literacy Continuum pages for the next higher level. You may find new understandings or more complex versions of the same understandings.
From Leveled Literacy Intervention Orange System Guide, Second Edition by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.
February 13. 2018

9 Tips for Introducing New Words to Learn

As you help children learn new words, use some of the following teaching suggestions:

  1. Use language that makes it clear you are talking about a word (not a letter): “This word is [word].” (Some children confuse letters and words and may be focusing on only a part.)
  2. Encourage children to look at the beginning of the word and show them what that means.
  3. Read the word as you run your finger under it, left to right.
  4. Ask children to look closely at the word and say what they notice at the beginning.
  5. Ask children to look at the word and then read it as they run a finger under it, left to right.
  6. Use another word to help children remember a new word: an, and; the, then.
  7. Help children notice the first letter and then look across the word left to right to notice more.
  8. Give children magnetic letters in order to build the word left to right.
  9. Using magnetic letters, have children break a word by pulling down the first letter and then the rest of the letters. Then have them put it together again.

From Leveled Literacy Intervention Orange System Guide, Second Edition by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (C) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

February 9. 2018

FAQ Friday: What Is the Purpose of the Getting Started Lessons in LLI?

Q: What is the purpose of the Getting Started lessons in Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI)?

A: The 10 Getting Started books are pairings of lap books and student books used at the beginning of the LLI Orange and Green Systems to provide maximum support for children for whom the world of print is very new. The books are introduced and read using a shared reading approach: reading to, reading with, and then reading by the students. The goal of the Getting Started lessons is to help children become active, engaged learners and to build a foundation of early reading and writing behaviors. 

Since they are reading the books with such a high level of support, children are able to read levels A, B, C, and D. During this time they are exposed to multiple text features and literacy concepts in a small group setting. 

Then, following the Getting Started lessons in LLI Orange, children begin instruction at Level A. After having experienced higher-level books, they will have a great deal of confidence in their own ability as well as a strong foundation to begin to learn and practice strategic actions needed for the reading process.

The Getting Started lessons can be used for a variety of purposes: students who are instructional at level A, B or below, students who need high support in establishing early literacy concepts, English Language learners, students who need to get a strong fast review of early literacy concepts, students who need to establish routines, and older Special Education students who are reading at lower levels.

February 8. 2018

Cut Across the Path of Literacy Failure with Early Intervention

The early years of school are important for every child, but for those who find literacy learning difficult, every one of these years is critical. Intervention must be effective and focused on outcomes rather than simply on numbers of children served. The most effective intervention is implemented early in a child’s school career—before the cycle of failure is established. 

If you intervene to help readers who struggle, you want to do so in a way that will prevent further difficulties. The ability to observe and interpret reading behavior is foundational to effective teaching of struggling readers. Fountas and Pinnell talk extensively in their book, When Readers Struggle, about the essential experiences needed to support young children who find literacy difficult.

Ensure these essential literacy experiences daily: 

1. Talk—evaluate whether your students have enough time to talk with others and share their stories.

2. Texts—engage students in a large amount of continuous text from various genres that are of interest, are age/grade appropriate, and can be read with fluency and comprehension.

3. Teach—provide explicit, clear, effective instruction based on the observed behavior of your students.

A literate life is the right of every child—even (or especially) those who initially find it difficult.

~The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team

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January 30. 2018

Ask Meli! January, 2018

We hope everyone is settling back to school after the holiday break, and discovering lots of new books! Meli continues to receive wonderful letters from her fans. She is always so impressed with how well the letters are written, and she enjoys looking on a map to see where her fans are from. If you can find Massachusetts on a map, you will see where Meli lives! 

Here are some questions from her friends at Hilltop Elementary School in Glen Burnie, MD.

Dear Meli,

Q: My name is Darlin. I go to Hilltop Elementary in Maryland. I just read Meli at the Vet. Were you sad in the vet? Love, Darlin

: Hi Darlin! I was a little nervous when I went to the vet. I know the vet helps me stay healthy, so I'm happy that she takes care of me! I really loved how colorful your letter was! Keep reading! Woof! –Meli More...

January 23. 2018

3 Tips for Forming LLI Groups

When forming LLI groups, children do not always fall neatly into just the right number of groups. After all, they are individuals who cannot be defined by “reading level.” You will probably have to do some problem-solving when you begin to group children. Your goal is to group the children so that the level of instruction will be appropriate for all of them. Our recommendation is to start the group at a text level that allows every child to begin with success. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make some “one level” compromises. Three children whose instructional levels are B, B, and C, for example, may be able to read together and benefit from the intervention lessons starting at level B. 
  • If you are working alongside a teacher in a classroom, make arrangements for a child from the neighboring classroom to join the group you are teaching. 
  • Take children at the same level from different classrooms (but be sure that it doesn’t take too much time to assemble them in the space you are teaching). 

Your priority should be to group children efficiently and effectively so that you can teach them at the appropriate level.

From LLI Orange System Guide by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2017 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.

January 19. 2018

FAQ Friday: How Long is Leveled Literacy Intervention?

Q: How Long is Leveled Literacy Intervention?

A: 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.