Work Smarter: How To Wrap Up A Unit of Study

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Text Levels– Tool or Trouble?

Lesley University Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative

by Irene Fountas, Author and Director of the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative

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When my colleague Gay Su Pinnell and I created a gradient of text for teachers to use in selecting books for small group reading, we were excited about its potential for helping teachers make good text decisions to support the progress of readers.

Our alphabetic gradient is widely used by teachers for this purpose and has become an essential tool for effective teaching in guided reading lessons.

With every good intention, the levels may have been applied by professionals in ways we would not have intended. We did not intend for levels to become a label for children that would take us back to the days of the bluebirds and the blackbirds or the jets and the piper cubs. Our intention was to put the tool in the hands of educators who understood their characteristics and…

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