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Home : 2002 : Oct : 4

    By Elaine

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    I read Fountas and Finnell's GUIDING READERS AND WRITERS book this summer in preparation to change the way I do reading with my students. So far I've implemented the Independent Reading phase with some measure of success. Students use self-selected novels which should be "just right" for them to provide plenty of time on-task reading. Now I am ready to begin to pull together small groups for the Guided Reading component. I plan to use short non-fiction articles or short fiction articles to teach specific reading skills such as summarizing.

    In addition, I also used STONE FOX with my 4th graders in a form of Literature Study which is the third component of the Fountas and Pinnell method. I like STONE FOX so much, of course because it's such a great story, but also because it's so short. We were able to go through it in just one week which kept the students interested. My main objective was to teach students how to find evidence in the text to support opinions they formed as they read. We accomplished this by doing a character study of Little Willy who is brave, diligent, loyal, loving, hard-working, resourceful, etc. etc. Once we decided which character traits fit him, we had to back up what we said by finding examples in the book for support. I thoroughly believe that this is one of the key skills students use when responding to literature. They are quick to say what they think, but it is far more difficult to identify what was read in the text that made them form those opinions.

    Right now I'm working on comparing and contrasting texts/characters/authors/plot/setting/etc., using venn diagrams to organize thoughts, and students are going to write two paragraphs, one to compare and one to contrast.

    When trying to keep so many components going, management is the key. I have taught many minilessons so far this year just trying to ensure students know what to do during IR while I meet with small groups or individuals for instruction.

    Maybe you've visited the Teachers as Readers Board. There are several teachers who've been reading, discussing, and implementing the Fountas and Finnell version of Guided Reading in their classrooms. If you haven't been over there, you may want to go and check it out.

    Happy Reading!

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