Out of This World Literacy : Blogging from Boston...Day Three with Irene Fountas!
menu   home About Me Freebies Products Workshops  

Blogging from Boston...Day Three with Irene Fountas!

Well today was a huge day!  I spent the day listening to Irene Fountas share her thinking around her new book, Genre Study

After a whirlwind eight hours of high energy learning...here are my TOP 10 things I'm thinking about tonight...

1. Students have to be motivated to read in order to be successful readers.

2. Teaching reading is a complex process.
3. We need to give students time to read independently.  Studies show the best way to become a better reader is to spend time reading.  We, as teachers, do not always need to be in front of the class talking for our students to be learning. 

4. If we realize students in our guided reading group are struggling through a text, don’t make them struggle through it.  It’s okay to take over the text and read it to them.
5. Students need to feel a sense of community.  They want to feel like a part of a group.  If a student is sitting in a guided reading group and the text is too difficult, that student will feel nervous, frustrated, and unable to participate.  He/she will not feel a part of the community. 

6. Creating understanding together with our students’ helps them develop their own thinking and learning.  They own their learning and retain information on a much deeper level when they have a part in each lesson.  It is much more powerful to include students’ thinking in a mini lesson rather than just telling them what they should know.  
7. Close reading is when readers analyze a section of text by reading it more than one time and talking about their understanding each time with other readers.  Looking at a text more than one time gives readers the opportunity to think differenly and gain new understandings each time the text is read.

8. As teachers, we don’t have to know everything about a genre before we begin teaching in a unit of study.  We can learn as we go right along with our students!  When we provide oppportunities for our students to share their thinking during mini lessons, they will often share thinking that we may not have thought of on our own.  We will learn from them!

9. Exposing children to a variety of informational texts will help them know a lot about things...but then what?  What's the point of knowing a lot of things?  What is the purpose for students to know these things and how will it change the world?  (this is some deep thinking I am playing with in my head).  Having conversations with our students around not only what we are learning but WHY we are learning is so important.

10. Have students talk about their responses to reading.  Then have them write about their thinking!
Phew what a day!  Two more days of learning are on their way then it's time to fly home and see my babies:)  Happy Wednesday friends!!!


  1. I am so jealous that you are in Boston right now! That is on my to-do list within the next 5 years! I am so glad that you are blogging about your experience!

    Miss Klohn
    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  2. I like #4. Sometimes I feel like I get "overly Socratic" because I don't want to give kids all the answers; I want to guide them through the process. But the leveled reader my group was using was, well, not conducive for the skill I was supposed to teach them. "Why is it talking about Gold Rush if the title of the book says it's about the Golden Age of Sail?" I realized I had to really walk them through that text; it wasn't one they were going to do on their own. Better to model summarizing at that point so they can have a shot at applying it next time with a different text than struggle through one that was too difficult for them. And I knew, by their reaction, that I did the right thing. The lights went on and they said "ohhhhh!" They were much more engaged hearing a model of the connections I made as a reader than they were the day before when they were guessing at what notes I was looking for.