TDS Monthly

April 2015

Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Kits

Are you interested in benchmarking a student using Fountas and Pinnell but do not know how to get started?
A good starting point is using the Where to Start Word Test beginning on page 154 for System 1 (students reading below Level L) and page 178 for System 2 (students reading Level L and above.) This quick tool will assist you in determining which level book to administer with the student. Then, it’s up to you and the student to choose between fiction and non-fiction!
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Going Deeper with Reading Comprehension


What type of questions are you asking your students?

Remember that Less is More.

What if you tried asking fewer questions but asked open ended questions that allow the opportunity for students to explore deeper understanding of the text in front of them?

Fountas and Pinnell encourages providing these opportunities for students with three ways of thinking through questioning:

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Within the Text: The power of reading and retelling.

The ability to solve words, check on whether words sound and look right, search for information, put information together and predict what is next, and summarize the text by carrying forward important information while disregarding irrelevant information.

Examples of Questions:

Instead of “What happened in the beginning, middle and end of this story?” Try “Talk about what happened in this story.”

Instead of “What are bubbles made of?” Try “What did you learn about bubbles?”

Beyond the Text: The power of connecting, inferring, and synthesizing while reading and after reading.

The ability to create new understandings and going beyond the literal meaning but instead figuring out what the author is implying.

Examples of Questions:

Instead of “What did Jim’s mom put into his backpack?” Try “How did Mugsy get into Jim’s backpack?”

Instead of “ Are dogs helpful?” Try “Why do you think dogs can be so helpful?”

About the Text: The power of examining and critiquing the text and how it is constructed.

The ability to analyze elements of how a text is written and evaluating the craft the author used to better understand a text based on personal, world, or text knowledge.

Examples of Questions:

Instead of “What is a word to describe Patrick?” Try “How did the author show you what kind of person Patrick was?”

Instead of “What does the drawing on page 10 tell you?” Try “Why did the author include pictures and drawings in the book?

Tina Johnston, Marci Derado, and Fatima Rich

Your Teacher Development Specialists