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March 6. 2018

Teacher Tip: How to Introduce Independent Work Areas

When introducing independent work areas:

  1. Talk about and demonstrate the routine yourself.
  2. Have children practice the routine.
  3. Observe children in the center until you are comfortable that they are consistently using the area independently and are being respectful of others and of the materials.
  4. Help children learn how to clean up and organize the materials at the center before transitioning or moving on to the next center.
  5. Teach children how to transition from one area to another.

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.

February 20. 2018

Teacher Tip: Incorporating Play Into Your Kindergarten Classroom

Play is an essential component of the kindergarten classroom. Throughout early childhood, the foundation of reading and writing is joyful play, language, and literacy experiences. Through play, children practice and gain control of abilities essential to learning, including language, self-regulation, and high-level thinking. As you design your classroom, you will want to provide space for choice time activities, including free and structured play. These areas may include resources for dramatic play, blocks, a sand/water table, and art supplies.

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

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 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 2. 2018

Twelve Tips for Powerful Teaching in Guided Reading Lessons

The following are some guiding principles that may help you get more power in your teaching:
  1. Notice the student's precise reading behaviors.
  2. Eliminate ineffective behaviors and help the reader do what proficient readers do. 
  3. Select a text on which the reader can learn how to read better- not too difficult and not too easy. 
  4. Teach the reader not the text.
  5. Teach the student to read written language not words.
  6. Teach for the student to initiate effective problem-solving actions. Use clear precise language that passes the control to the reader. 
  7. Only ask the student to do what you know he can do. 
  8. Don't clutter the teaching with too much talk. 
  9. Focus on self-monitoring and self-regulating behaviors so the reader becomes independent. 
  10. Build on examples of successful processing. 
  11. Teach for fast responding so the reader can process smoothly and efficiently.
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.
December 19. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing for Reading Minilessons

Many of your lessons on management, skills, strategies, and literary analysis will flow from observations you make during interactive read-aloud and conferring with children during independent reading. When organizing your classroom for reading minilessons, designate wall space near the meeting area to display anchor charts with principles that children are currently learning and applying.

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.

December 12. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing for Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Lessons

When you present phonics and word study lessons, you will need a pocket chart; picture, letter, and word cards; and chart paper. Store your lesson folders, Sing a Song of Poetry, and Ready Resources in your resource area to streamline planning and the gathering of materials.

For more tips on organizing PWS, refer to this Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System Unpacking Document.

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.

December 5. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom for Guided Reading

Your guided reading area is best located in an area of the classroom that accommodates a table large enough to seat 4-6 children and yourself. A kidney-shaped table is ideal. Arrange the table so you sit facing the children and classroom, allowing you to monitor the children working in independent work areas. Ideally the lessons and books are arranged by level on shelves behind your small-group table, allowing you to easily retrieve and return instructional materials.

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.

November 28. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom for Interactive Read-Aloud

Interactive read-aloud takes place in the whole-class meeting area of your classroom. It is ideal to have a bright rug or natural barriers, such as bookshelves, to mark the area. Children sit on the floor, so arrange your chair and an easel to give all children an unobstructed view. As you finish with a book, you can move it to a bin in the classroom library or display it on the easel or bookshelves, offering children the opportunity to choose to read it independently. Keep interactive read-aloud lessons, books, and supplies in your resource area for easy access.

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.

November 21. 2017

Teacher Tip: Organizing Your Classroom for Shared Reading

As you arrange your classroom for shared reading, be sure to accommodate children so that every child can see the big book or chart. Store texts and tools nearby for easy access.

Texts:

  • large print books
  • projected texts
  • shared/interactive writing texts
  • small copies of large texts

Tools:

  • easel
  • plain pointer
  • Wikki Stix®
  • word cards
  • highlighter tape
  • magnetic letters
  • whiteboard
  • pocket chart
  • word masks of various sizes
  • markers
  • correction tape and sticky notes
  • computer and screen, or document camera, to project an image
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.