Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™

With over 20 years of literacy leadership, the extensive work of Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell has coalesced into Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™: a comprehensive, systematic design for high-impact literacy instruction. Transformative professional development underpins Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™—insightful Assessment, effective Intervention, practical Professional Books, and essential Classroom Resources—to redefine and elevate literacy teaching and learning.

  • Core Values

    Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ is underpinned by 10 Core Values for articulating a shared vision of literacy education. Together, these Core Values reflect a transformative vision of what literacy education could be, ensuring the right of every student to lead a literate life.

    Schools are Places Where:

    1. Students think, talk, read, and write about relevant content to achieve literacy success and develop as global citizens.
    2. Students are members of a cohesive learning community that sustains their literacy growth and success.
    3. Students engage in authentic inquiry that challenges their thinking and expands their intellectual curiosity.
    4. Students have a strong sense of agency that propels their learning and builds their capacity for self-regulation.
    5. Students have extensive opportunities to read, write, and talk about a wide variety of real books in a range of genres and disciplines.
    6. Students have frequent opportunities for choice independent reading to build mileage, stamina and interest as readers.
    7. Teachers systematically assess the impact of instruction on student learning and use data to improve literacy performance.
    8. Teachers know the specific literacy behaviors of each of their students and use their knowledge to make expert teaching decisions.
    9. Educators work as a team to take collective responsibility for high achievement of the widely diverse student population.
    10. Educators engage in and value their own continuous professional learning and support the learning of colleagues.
  • F&P Text Level Gradient™
    Fountas and Pinnell Text Level Gradient

    Reading is a highly complex process. Readers must build a system of strategic actions for processing texts A–Z+ that begins with early reading behaviors and becomes a network of strategic actions for reading increasingly difficult texts. The F&P Text Level Gradient™ should be seen as a continuum of progress for readers.

    The F&P Text Level Gradient™ is the most recognized and trusted tool for selecting books for small-group reading instruction. All of Fountas and Pinnell's work references their F&P Text Level Gradient™—often referred to as Guided Reading levels or F&P levels—beginning with the publication of Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children, and extending to the publication of The Continuum of Literacy Learning, the Benchmark Assessment System 1 and 2 and the Leveled Literacy Intervention Systems.

    Fountas and Pinnell's goal is to support the child's development of self-initiating actions he will be able to apply to a range of texts of similar difficulty. With daily teaching, the teacher helps the child climb the ladder of text difficulty with success. The goal of guided reading is to bring the child to the level of complex texts appropriate for the grade, in doing so, teaching must begin with where the child is able to engage with some success, so that there is a point of contact, thereby engaging the child's development of a self-extending system for processing texts.

    Learn more about the factors taken into consideration for placing books on the F&P Text Level Gradient™

    Factors Related to Text Difficulty - Chart
    This document defines the ten text characteristics from The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, which are the main factors related to text difficulty. Studying the text characteristics of books at a given level will provide a good inventory of the challenges readers will meet across that level. These ten text factors are important to consider when selecting texts for any kind of reading instruction. 

      The full version of this resource requires registration.

    Take an On-Demand Mini-Course presented by Heinemann Online PD to learn more

  • Our Brand
    Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Logo


    The Benchmark Assessment Systems are accurate and reliable tools to identify the instructional and independent reading levels of all students and document student progress through one-on-one formative and summative assessments.

      Classroom Resources

    Classroom Resources maximize student learning with systematic lessons, student books and materials, and powerful tools that guide teachers’ language and actions and support them in expert decision making for high-impact literacy instruction.


    Leveled Literacy Intervention is a short-term, supplementary intervention proven to improve literacy achievement of struggling readers with engaging leveled books and fast-paced, systematically designed lessons.

      Professional Books

    Professional Books empower teachers with highly effective instructional procedures and the latest in literacy thinking to elevate their expertise and help build a community of skillful, informed educators.

      Professional Development

    Professional Development offers options and opportunities to further develop the teaching craft and foster a climate of collegiality and community through School-Based Seminars, Multi-Day Institutes, and Live Webinars.

  • Systems of Strategic Actions
    Systems of Strategic Actions
    What is the Systems of Strategic Actions? Any one of the many simultaneous, coordinated thinking activities that occur in a reader's head. The diagram represents the three ways of thinking about a text while reading:
    • Thinking Within the Text: Readers efficiently and effectively understand what is on the page—the author's literal message.
    • Thinking Beyond the Text: Readers make inferences and put text ideas together in different ways to construct the text's meaning.
    • Thinking About the Text: Readers analyze and critique the author's craft.