Tag Archives: Guided Reading

Fountas and Pinnell Text Levels: Tool or Trouble Chat Recap


On Thursday night (10/29/15), Heinemann authors Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell hosted their monthly Twitter chat on the topic of: The F&P Text Level Gradient™ – Tool or Trouble?

Below is a highlight of some of the topics discussed throughout the evening. The topic was so popular that they plan to focus on this topic again in the next chat. If you have a question you’d like the authors to address tweet them using their handle @FountasPinnell, using the hashtag #FPLiteracy, or you can email them at FountasandPinnell@heinemann.com.


Supporting Readers In Increasingly Complex Texts

Reading Strategies Book

Jennifer Serravallo's The Reading Strategies Book is out now. In today's video post, Jen describes how strategies in the book are tagged with a span of reading levels, and how teachers can work through a progression to more complex texts.

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Your Heinemann Link Round-Up for the Week of May 17–23


Welcome to the newest installment in our weekly link series on the Heinemann blog! Every week we find around five interesting links for you to take into your much deserved weekend. These links are interviews with educators, posts from our authors' and friends' blogs, and any interesting, newsworthy item from the past seven days. Check back each week for a new round of finds!

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At the Coach, Actually blog, Christy Curran and Monique Knight wrote about creating a curriculum of change through book selection and a focus on empathy:

We create a kinder world that is in our classroom and beyond. How to do that? Notice how your kids treat one another. When it’s kind, take notice. When it’s not, take notice. It doesn’t need to be with grand gesture, but it needs to be recognized, celebrated in a way. It says, this is what we value, this is what we honor in this class. Of course, the teacher is always the first and best model for this.

Click through to read "Creating a Curriculum of Change."

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Justin Baeder is the Director of The Principal Center and the host of Principal Center Radio. He interviewed Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts, coauthors of Falling in Love with Close Reading.

Click here to listen to the interview.

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The in-state tuition break is slowly disappearing, according to Kevin Carey of The New York Times:

Replacing in-state with out-of-state students can be easier than raising prices because tuition increases are highly public and are frequently regulated by state legislatures and governing bodies. Universities often have more discretion over the in-state/out-of-state of mix.

Click through to read the full article.

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Elizabeth Moore is teaching at the Vermont Reads Institute this summer, and wrote a post about what guided reading is and isn't:

One of the first things we'll be discussing is this: What does guided reading look like in your classroom? Chances are, guided reading looks different in each person's classroom.

Click through to read "Guided Reading: What It Is/What It Is Not."

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Maia Fastabend reviewed the new edition of Children's Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction for MiddleWeb.

Are you in search of a book that explains students’ mathematical thinking? Or often left wondering how your students came up with a wrong answer? Children’s Mathematics: Cognitively Guided Instruction is a book that delves into answering common teacher questions about math learning.

Click through to read the full review at MiddleWeb.

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That's it! Enjoy the long weekend. Have fun at a cookout, or find a curbside tag sale and come away with some antique silver flatware. See you next week!

The Importance of Goals and Teacher Feedback

Reading Strategies Book

Jennifer Serravallo's The Reading Strategies Book releases tomorrow (5/21)! In today's video post, Jen describes how her newest book is organized by students' goals.

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How Would You Use The Reading Strategies Book?


In Jennifer Serravallo's The Reading Strategies Book, Jen talks us through how to use the strategies in a variety of instructional formats.

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Guided Writing, Part 2

In Part 1 of her blog, Linda likened guided writing to guided reading in that they both focus on a learner's needs and take place in small, flexible groups. She also offered suggestions for how to fit guided writing into the daily classroom schedule. In Part 2, Linda offers sample lessons that show specifically how she works with students to lift the level of their writing.

By Linda Hoyt

Sample Guided Writing Lessons

Vignette 1: Guided Writing as an Extension of Guided Reading

Marcella, Stephanie, Malo, Joey, and Megan have been reading about westward migration during guided reading. Their discussions have been rich with connections to the social studies unit we are studying as a class. I decided to shift them from guided reading to guided writing to take advantage of the rich descriptors in the guided reading text. The language of this text is laden with colorful descriptions and interesting sentence patterns, both of which were much needed in these students’ writing.

I explained that we are revisiting the book they have read, not to look at content, but rather to look at the writer. I requested that they reread page 4 and prepare to make observations about the writer’s craft, especially the descriptions and the way sentences are structured.

From page 4, Joey read, “They created maps, charted rivers, identified plants and animals, and brought back tales of harsh weather and beautiful land.” Malo volunteered to share first and observed that one of the reasons he had really liked reading this book was that he could imagine the activities. The book was written so that he could make a movie in his head and understand what was happening.

The other students agreed and set about finding additional examples of places in the book where the author had used lists of actions and interesting descriptions to stimulate visualization for the reader. They concluded that the sentences that listed actions, separated by commas, were very powerful.

Our next step was to turn to the writing they had been doing on westward migration. Each student had a different topic under development. Our challenge in guided writing was to apply what we learned from this author to our own work. They started in pairs helping each other to look for spots in their writing where the strategy for listing actions could be used.

As I closed the guided writing session, I asked them to summarize what they had learned and explain how they would use that understanding in their writing.

As in the previous vignette, I made a note to myself to check with them the next day and invite them to present a group minilesson for the rest of the class as this writing strategy was one not yet covered for the class at large.

Vignette 2: Guided Writing during Writers Workshop

John, Alecia, Alvarito, Shandrea, and Alad lean in closely as I show them the leads in four of my favorite informational picture books. As the students observe, I point out the way the authors have tried to pull me into their texts with first person language such as “Please notice that…” or “Did you know that…” or opening with a question.

I had presented several whole class minilessons on strategies for pulling the reader into informational writing, but these five students continued to develop pieces that read like lists of facts. They would benefit from the increased intensity of a guided writing group on this topic.

As I continued to point out strategies used in these books, I noticed that Alad kept leaning in closer and that Shandrea was totally focused on the language. These are students who are easily distracted and often sit at the back of the sharing circle, yet in the small guided writing group, they were totally connected.

My next step is to show the students a piece of my own informational writing, which I had placed on a sheet of chart paper. I read it and did a think-aloud about how to improve the lead and make it more appealing to a reader. While thinking aloud, I explored the use of questions to open paragraphs and showed the writers how I could change my piece by beginning with a question, such as, “Do bats have belly buttons?” Ultimately, the students assisted me in drafting my new, more inviting draft and were eager to dive into their writing folders to add some life to their own work.

The group lasted about ten minutes, but we accomplished a great deal. As they left the table, I made a note to meet with them again the next day to check on their progress and invite them to share their changes with each other. I also made a note to give these students an opportunity to share what they had learned and their ensuing changes during our sharing circle for writing.

Vignette 3: Guided Writing with Emergent Writers in Writers Workshop

Six eager kindergarten faces shone with excitement as they joined me around the table for guided writing. I had selected these students as a temporary guided writing group because they were still focusing on drawing and were producing very little writing even though I continued to do modeled writing every day.

I modeled how to stretch out a word and say it slowly while writing the beginning and ending sounds. I also reminded them to use picture-alphabet cards, which were on the table, so they could find the picture clues to match the sounds they could hear. We practiced stretching several words. I had modeled these behaviors in whole class sessions, but the intimacy of the small group really helped these writers engage.

Once I had given the group a strategy for writing words, I wanted to give them something concrete to spark ideas. So, next I passed out photos that I had taken the day before of these students doing cross-section drawings of pears and oranges. I asked the students to place their photograph on a piece of writing paper and create labels for the things they could see in the photograph. It worked! They were each able to label several items from the photograph, using at least beginning and ending sounds. And, they started drafting sentences! Thanks to guided writing and the boost in confidence it provided, these students now see themselves as writers.


Guided writing, like guided reading, must reside within a rich culture of language and informational explorations. The teaching done in guided writing is based upon the broad range of experiences children have in modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, and personal writing. The groups are small and flexible. Teaching is targeted to explicit learner needs, and the emphasis is on the craft or process.

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Linda Hoyt is a nationally recognized consultant who creates environments where engaged children are active participants in their own learning. She is the author, co-author, or editor of Solutions for Reading ComprehensionRevisit, Reflect, Retell, Updated EditionSpotlight on ComprehensionExploring Informational TextsMake It Real, and Snapshots. In addition, she is the author of the Interactive Read-Alouds series and the Explorations in Nonfiction Writing series.