Setting the Stage for ­­­­Joy and Independence in Reading

by Irene Fountas, Director of the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative, Author, and Featured Speaker at the 2016 Literacy for All Conference

A classroom is a place where children can thrive in a language-rich, print-rich, social environment every day of the school year. When you support continuous inquiry, children’s fascination with people and the world, and multi-text based learning, you engage the hearts and minds of your students. They learn how to learn and develop a sense of agency that will propel their literacy learning across the year.



The foundation of growing up literate in our schools lies in authentic literacy learning that brings together children’s language and background experiences with the world of print and media. It begins with getting wonderful books in every child’s hands and selecting high quality complex texts that capture children’s attention with the language, craft and ideas of fiction and nonfiction texts. And it continues when the fabric of the classroom is reading, thinking, talking and writing about books.

The early milestones for developing students’ views of themselves as readers and writers include setting up an organized classroom library in a range of relevant and appealing categories, providing a variety of enticing book talks and teaching your students to do the same, teaching students how to select books that interest them and they can enjoy, teaching students how to talk to each other about books, and introducing the reader’s notebook as a place to reflect on reading through writing.

When students spend their time reading books, thinking about books, talking about books, and writing about them, they build the stamina and independence that places books at the center and promotes a lifetime of joy in reading.

Irene Fountas will be speaking at the upcoming Literacy for All conference, October 23-25, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. Her sessions include:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of Guided Reading: Elevating Teacher Expertise in Differentiated Instruction (Grades K-5) 

Irene Fountas, Author/Director, Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative, Lesley University, MA
Gay Su Pinnell, Author/Professor Emerita, The Ohio State University, OH


Monday, October 24, 2016

Digging Deep: Teaching for Reading Power in Guided Reading Lessons (Grades K-5)

Irene Fountas, Author/Director, Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative, Lesley University, MA
Gay Su Pinnell, Author/Professor Emerita, The Ohio State University, OH

4 thoughts on “Setting the Stage for ­­­­Joy and Independence in Reading

  1. Self-selected reading should be the foundation of any literacy program. If you try to build your program without it, you are building your program on sand. Wide reading provides background (schema). Wide reading reinforces interests/ builds interests. Wide reading leads to better writing (as a writer you are what you read!). Imagine a world where students really did 20 minutes a night of recreational reading. Now imagine one step you could take as a teacher/administrator to help make that world happen.


  2. How does a 5 or 6 year old choose books successfully if they are not leveled? In the early primary grades I think showing them the levels are just as important. Maybe in upper elementary they can go to libraries that are genre or subject specific???


    • Thank you for your question. With emergent readers, you can teach them how to choose books they can read and enjoy. Give quick book talks to highlight books in the classroom library at a variety of difficulty levels. The children may spend some time rereading books you have used in shared or guided reading and you might create a colored browsing basket with many books that might be good choices for children in a particular guided reading group. We recommend that levels are for teachers to use, not the students.

      My best,


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