Monday, May 27, 2013

Reading Units of Study

I've had several requests for a list of the units of study we follow in reading and writing. I am absolutely happy to share. Our units of study are crafted by our fantastic elementary language arts coordinator and the instructional coaches in our district. We are given a written narrative for each unit that describes what the classroom should look and sound like by giving guidance in areas such as read aloud, guided reading, independent reading, and readers' and writers' workshops. The units are revised each year as a result of teacher feedback. I can't praise our LA coordinator enough. She is very knowledgable and very accessible to teachers! She truly listens when we offer feedback or suggestions.

Here are the reading units of study that we follow in third grade. I'll give the title and then the instructional focus of each unit.

  • Launching Reader's Workshop - (3 wks) - This unit is all about teaching those rules and routines necessary to make your classroom and workshop time work. The First 20 Days of Reading from Guiding Readers and Writers (Fountas and Pinnell) are a big resource in this unit.
  • Readers Build Good Habits - (6 wks) - This unit is designed to help kids review and learn strategies that good readers use, including reading with phrasing and fluency, interacting and staying engaged with the text, and monitoring for understanding.
  • Readers Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions About Fiction Texts - (5 wks) - This is one of my favorites! This unit is all about characters in fiction texts and the changes they undergo. We also look at plot and story structure during this unit.
  • Reading Poetry and Drama - (4 wks) - During this unit we focus on building meaning and understanding of various types of poetry. However, we also do daily focus poetry lessons (similar to shared reading) to help expose kids to poetry and the vocabulary associated with it from day one. You can't wait until this unit to begin exposing them to poetry and expect them to master it in four weeks! :)
  • Readers Read Nonfiction Text To Gain Information - (4 wks) - This one is all about nonfiction: various text features readers find in nonfiction, main idea, ways the author can structure the text, and responding to nonfiction. We don't save nonfiction for this unit, though! We include nonfiction in our regular read aloud rotation throughout the year.
  • Readers Infer and Synthesize Themes in Texts - (4 wks) - This is a fun unit that the kids enjoy. This unit is about theme across all genres. The kids think about the big picture in reading. What is the author trying to teach or tell you? What can you take away from this unit and apply to your own life?
  • Readers Maintain a Reading Life While Preparing for STAAR - (5 wks) - This is our test prep unit. We use this unit to teach good test taking strategies and help the kids understand that the test booklet is similar to a magazine but with questions after each article. We still read test passages the same way - by reading, thinking, and responding - even though the text and booklet may look different!
  • Readers Read and Research for Information - (5 wks) - This is a combined reading and writing unit. In this unit, we teach kids how to use research skills to choose and narrow a topic, generate questions to research, choose resources, take notes and generate a product to demonstrate new learning. (Can you tell this is the unit we're right in the middle of??)
  • Readers Make a Plan for Summer Reading (last week) - In this short burst we want to help the kids make a plan to keep growing as readers over the summer by doing things such as setting reading goals or generating a list of books they want to read.

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