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™ to redefine and elevate literacy teaching and learning with insightful assessment, effective intervention, essential classroom resources, and practical professional books. 

  • Resources
  • Vision and Core Values
  • F&P Text Level Gradient
  • System of Strategic Actions
  • Authors



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Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)

Reliably and accurately identify reading levels and document progress through one-on-one formative and summative assessments.

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Classroom Resources

Fountas & Pinnell Classroom (FPC)

Engage all students in literacy learning using this inquiry-rich, multi-text system across multiple instructional contexts. 

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Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI)

Bring students up to grade-level competency with powerful, daily small group lessons.

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Professional Books

Professional Learning Tools (PLT)

Strengthen instructional decision-making, empower teachers with the latest in literacy thinking, and build a community of skillful, informed educators. 

Vision and Core Values


The schools we envision recognize every child’s right to grow up literate as a member of a dynamic learning community that values the richness of linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity. Members of the school community are treated and treat others with empathy, kindness, and respect. Students are motivated to investigate new ideas that fuel intellectual curiosity and act as powerful agents in their own learning. Because students are fully engaged and feel a sense of joy in their own learning, they achieve a higher level of literacy. Through dynamic literacy education that exemplifies the beliefs and core values described below, students come to understand their physical, social, and emotional world and their roles as informed global citizens—hallmarks of the literate lives they can lead.

Core Values

Schools are places where students:

  1. Act as members of a cohesive learning community that sustains their literacy growth and success.
  2. Engage in authentic inquiry within and beyond the classroom walls to ignite their intellectual curiosity and expand their knowledge of the world and of others.
  3. Believe in themselves and their own ability to acquire and use language and literacy for learning and enjoyment.
  4. Read, think about, talk about, and write about relevant content that engages their hearts and minds every day.
  5. Read, think about, talk about, and write about texts that are culturally sensitive, reflect the diversity in our world, and vary in genre, content, and perspective.

Schools are places where literacy educators:

  1. Implement a coherent set of evidence-based instructional practices in whole-class, small-group, and individual contexts.
  2. Make expert instructional decisions based on evidence gained from systematic observation and ongoing assessment data.
  3. Work as a team to take collective responsibility for the high achievement of each student in a widely diverse population.
  4. Act as members of a community with a common vision, common goals, common language, and a strong belief that their work can transform children’s lives through literacy.
  5. Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their own professional learning and to support the learning of their colleagues and team members.


F&P 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 Text Level Gradient™—often referred to as Guided Reading levels or F&P levels.

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™


System 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:

Systems of Strategic Actions Wheel

  • 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.


Irene Fountas

Irene Fountas

Irene C. Fountas is the Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair for Early Literacy and Reading Recovery at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and director of the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative in the Graduate School of Education. She has been a classroom teacher, language arts specialist, and consultant in school districts across the nation and abroad. She is the recipient of the International Literacy Association’s Diane Lapp & James Flood Professional Collaborator Award, and the Greater Boston Council and the International Reading Association’s Celebrate Literacy Award. Currently, she works with administrators, coaches and teacher leaders in systemic school improvement.


Gay Su Pinnell

Gay Su Pinnell 

Gay Su Pinnell is Professor Emerita in the School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. She has extensive experience in classroom teaching, field-based research, and in developing comprehensive literacy systems. She is the recipient of the International Literacy Association’s Diane Lapp & James Flood Professional Collaborator Award, The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Medalist Award, the International Reading Association’s Albert J. Harris Award for research in reading difficulties, the Ohio Governor’s Award, the Charles A. Dana Foundation Award, The Eastern New Mexico University Hall of Honor, and a 2018 recipient of an honorary doctorate Lesley University for her contributions to literacy education.

Join the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Community at to connect with Gay and Irene and thousands of educators from around the world on one of the fastest-growing online literacy communities. Continue the conversation on Twitter @FountasPinnell, on Instagram @FountasPinnell, on Facebook @FountasandPinnell or by joining The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ Learning Facebook Group.



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