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February 16. 2018

FAQ Friday: Is There a Lexile Correlation Chart for Fountas & Pinnell Levels?

Q: Is there a Lexile correlation chart for Fountas & Pinnell levels?

A: No, there is no correlation chart. There are several approaches to determining a text's level of complexity. Metametrics, the company that provides Lexile measures, takes one approach by measuring text complexity with a proprietary computer algorithm that measures sentence length, syllables, and word frequency.

The levels in the F&P Text Level Gradient™ are based on ten text factors: Genre/Form, Text Structure, Content, Themes and Ideas, Language and Literary Features, Sentence Complexity, Vocabulary, Words, Illustrations, and Book and Print Features. A level obtained from a Benchmark Assessment differs from that obtained with a Lexile assessment in that comprehension is a key factor in the Benchmark Assessment. A student might very well be able to decode high-level texts, but a Benchmark Assessment also determines if the student's comprehension is good enough for instruction.

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

February 15. 2018

Opportunities to Foster Thoughtful Talk

Students’ talk reflects their thinking. When students talk about what they are reading, they reveal their understandings and perspectives; communicate and refine their ideas; make meaning from texts; and make connections to their own experiences. Thoughtful talk is a treasure trove of information that will help inform your teaching.

Students need robust opportunities for varied talk structures within many different instructional contexts. Here are some settings in which you can foster those opportunities!

Turn and Talk

Turn and talk is when students turn toward one or two other students to discuss a text or part of a text that they have just read or listened to. Turn and talk provides all students with the opportunity to share their thinking and to learn the thinking of others. This mini-discussion allows students to refine and sharpen their ideas, which in turn enriches whole-class discussion. 

Students can turn and talk during interactive read-aloud, reading minilessons, guided reading discussions, book clubs, shared reading, and during lessons in any of the disciplines. Start with partners and move on to groups of threes and fours. Teach them to start discussing right away, look at each other in the eyes, and listen attentively. Provide students with a prompt to focus their conversation and lead their thinking forward.


Conferences provide you with an opportunity to have genuine conversations with students about their work and identity as readers. Students’ talk during conferences reveals their understandings and thinking. Your role is to provide brief, customized support and responsive teaching that enables them to more efficiently and effectively process texts.

Conferences are conversational, with the reader doing at least as much or more talking than the teacher. Pull up a chair and sit next to the reader, or call the reader to sit with you at a table or desk tucked away from the rest of the classroom activity. The conference allows you to understand a reader’s processing of a text, but the goal is to ensure that they learn something they can apply to their reading in the future.

Book Clubs

Book clubs provide an authentic opportunity for students to apply many of the literacy behaviors and understandings that they have learned through other instructional contexts. As they bring together much of their learning in this one context, students find themselves in control. The experience of exchanging ideas with their peers and co-constructing richer, deeper understandings of texts is genuinely rewarding. 

A book club is an intensive instructional context, not simply an activity you assign. Eventually, students will be able to take the lead because of your teaching and support, but you may interject an occasional comment or question that extends students’ thinking in ways they can’t do for themselves. As you respond to students during a book club, you demonstrate that each student’s perspectives and ideas are valued.

Engaging in thoughtful talk means going beyond casual sharing to make strong and explicit links between students’ own experiences and understandings and the larger ideas in a text. When students talk seriously and in-depth about books, the benefits are enormous.

The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Team 

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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.