Working for the Center for Reading Recovery in the capacity of project manager, I theoretically am aware of the amazing work and systems our director Irene Fountas and her colleague Gay Su Pinnell develop on behalf of our struggling readers. This summer/fall, I experienced first hand Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) as a parent. This is our family's journey with the LLI green system.
When the summer reading list for my six-year-old son arrived and we were urged to read for 20 minutes each day, I was excited. Yay! Gabe and I can snuggle while I help him learn to read. Gabe has enjoyed read-aloud and bedtime stories — this will be great! Unfortunately, it was a struggle and my child was not interested at ALL in reading with me over the summer before first grade. When I say struggle, I mean the books that were on the summer list for beginning readers were too difficult. Gabe shut down, crossed his arms, read with no expression when he was able to decode a word, and was literally kicking his feet! As a parent, I felt defeated. What and where did I do wrong?
In October, Gabe started the green Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) system at school. Immediately, he gained confidence in his reading. With each take-home book, I saw his magnificent growth each day. A milestone for me was when he read to his nine-month-old sister, totally without prompting! During our teacher conference, his teacher shared that when asked if he was a reader in September, he stated "No, I am not good at it.” By December, Gabe's teacher stated that if she asked that question again, she felt the response would be a much more positive one. What has changed? His experience with successful reading in LLI small-group instruction (thanks to Ms. Williams) allows Gabe to participate fully in his literacy instruction in his classroom. He has learned to problem solve if he doesn’t know a word.
His LLI group is wrapping up and although I haven’t seen a progress report yet, I can measure his success through his reading behaviors and development of text preference. He seeks clues, reads sentences everywhere with fluency, and is in constant exploration of language. His writing has improved through the take-home activities as well.
Thank you to Brookline Public Schools for understanding how important this early intervention is to your students and to the Fountas and Pinnell team for creating these systems to provide this small-group instruction!