HCSD's Literacy Connection

September 19, 2016

Dialogue With Danielle Romine - HCSD's Elementary Director of Instruction

This is a question and answer period from Danielle during our weekly coaches meetings. If you have any questions you would like us to ask her, please send an email before Friday.


1. Class Sets of Books Question: Is it possible to borrow a class set of books from another building?

Answer: Class sets need to remain in their respective buildings. This will ensure that teachers have access to them when they are ready to use them in their classroom.

Building Lifelong Readers with a Little Help from Donalyn Miller

The goal of a reading teacher is to create lifelong readers. According to Columbia University's Reading and Writing Project and reading guru Donalyn Miller, we create lifelong readers when we support them by providing a lot of reading time (worksheets take away from that time), teaching students to successfully choose independent reading books, and giving opportunity to have a social life around reading. You can read more about this here: http://readingandwritingproject.org/news/donalyn-miller-the-book-whisperer-teaches-important-lessons-about-fostering-lifelong-readers

Easy Conferencing Documentation Form

Keep this form on a clipboard to jot down information as you conference with students during independent work.

A Differentiated Reading Classroom

Recently our Title 1 and Special Education departments were trained in the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking Assessments. Next week, they will be trained to use the LLI (Leveled Literacy Intervention) system, which is a comprehensive reading system. This system begins with comprehensive assessments that create a picture of the reading strengths and weaknesses of each student. It includes leveled book kits that allow teachers to provide texts for each student at his or her range. Books rooms are created in which books are leveled into the book system. Nearly any book can be leveled and placed into the book room. Our current books will be given a level, so they can be matched to specific students.


This approach will move classrooms away from the idea that all students within a class will be reading the same book at the same time. The Fountas and Pinnell reading program includes a shared text, guided reading and independent reading. The goal of Fountas and Pinnell is to match students to a "just right book" for guided and independent reading and a more complex text that is used for a shared reading. The district has chosen to move all classrooms to this Fountas and Pinnell approach next year. A step we could begin to take (and many have) is to use STAR scores to match students to a book that is within their independent reading range. Providing independent reading time for students each day is critical. Another step toward this approach would be to begin thinking about using different levels of books to teach specific skills rather than the whole class novel. This means that you would be pulling books from different grade levels.


Shared texts "mentor texts" are used in class lessons to help all students engage in a specific text and anchor instruction for students' guided reading books. The shared text make it possible for students to successfully process a more complex text than they can read independently or in guided reading. Shared texts provide the opportunity for younger students to build an early reading process and have strong letters, sounds, and words,as well as enjoyment of reading. At the older grades the shared text enhances students understanding of critical concepts and helps them to enjoy more complex literature and words.


Below please find the button to show how Fountas and Pinnell reading levels compare to STAR reading levels.


If you would like more support to move your classroom in this direction, please don't hesitate to contact your ELA coaches.

Fountas & Pinnell Guided Rdg Levels Compared To STAR

This is a chart to help you see how the F& P Benchmarks correlate to Accelerated Reader. As we transition, we will begin using the letters to describe students reading levels.