October 5. 2016
Even with many high-quality literacy opportunities, some
students struggle with literacy learning. An intervention system gets them back
on track so they can benefit fully from classroom instruction. Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy
System (LLI) is a literacy intervention system for students who find
reading and writing difficult. Its goal is to give students the boost they need
to read at the same level as their peers.
Who is LLI for?
LLI is a rigorous,
small-group, supplementary literacy intervention system
for students who are not achieving grade-level expectations in reading and
writing, and are not receiving another form of literacy intervention. The
LLI systems are designed to bring
students from the earliest level A (kindergarten level) to level Z, which
represents the competencies needed at a middle and high school level.
LLI is based on
the F&P Text Level Gradient™.
Each level of text makes increasing demands on the reader, but the demands and
resulting changes are gradual. By actively participating in intensive lessons
on each level, readers have the opportunity to expand their reading and writing
abilities. With the support of instruction, they stretch themselves to read
more complex texts with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension—and to write with more
complexity. With these goals in mind, students effectively engage in the
reading and writing process every day, (Fountas and Pinnell 2012).
How does LLI work?
When readers struggle, there is a critical need for highly
effective, small-group intervention to get them back on track as soon as
possible. There are some basic implementation principles that are essential if
the intervention is expected to work effectively, (Fountas and Pinnell 2012).
We want interventions to be short term and intensive, with
flexible entry and exit points so that individual needs may be accommodated in
a small-group situation. If the intervention is early and effective, then the
length will be shorter; however, students who are far behind may need a year or
more of effective supplementary instruction. The layers of intervention should
be flexible enough that the teacher can group and regroup students.
Lessons must be supplemental to good classroom instruction;
it is the combination of high-quality
classroom teaching and intensive small-group intervention lessons that enable
learners to make accelerated progress, catch up with their peers, and continue
to perform at expected levels for the grade.
How long does LLI take?
Lessons must be frequent—five days a week is preferred—so
that readers can gain and sustain momentum and acceleration is possible. And,
the teacher-to-student ratio must be as low as possible. For the greatest
impact in short-term intervention, we recommend a ratio of 1:3 for children
performing at earlier levels (kindergarten, grades 1 and 2) and 1:4 for
students performing at higher levels (grades 3–12).
Who administers LLI?
Providing excellent intervention lessons depends on the
expertise of teachers. The teachers of struggling readers and writers should be
exceptionally skilled in systematic observation, in the assessment of reading behaviors,
and in teaching for the range of strategic actions that proficient readers use.
All teachers of struggling readers
(classroom and intervention teachers) need opportunities to continually increase
their understanding of the reading and writing processes and the behavioral
evidence that reveals competencies. The expert intervention teacher is able to
make effective decisions that meet the diverse needs of students.
When basic implementation requirements are in place, we need
to dig deeper into research on literacy learning and reading difficulties to
inform the design of teaching. What happens
in the intervention must affect change. Many struggling students sit in daily
30- to 45-minute intervention lessons, yet little improvement is evident in
what they are able to do independently.
Remember that progress is not enough; struggling
readers need to make faster progress than their peers, and that is the whole
purpose of intervention. They may be disengaged or bored. They may work
diligently at mechanical tasks that they do not connect in a lively way to real
reading and writing. To be effective, the intervention lessons must incorporate
everything we know about what students need to learn, especially those who are
Stephanie Tucker, Fountas and Pinnell Marketing Manager
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Leveled Literacy Intervention System Guide. © 2012 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.