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Reading Series Fiction, Rising Grades 4-6, Summer 2021

By Lucy Calkins, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project

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This unit is built on research that shows that kids often read more when they read series—and it is through series fiction that they are most apt to become life-long readers. It also builds on the research that shows that kids benefit from explicit instruction in skills, and time to practice those skills with more and then less support. This module supports students in rising grades 4–6.

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About the TCRWP Virtual Summer School Curriculum

These all-new, standards-based—and joyful—summer school units/modules were developed around what we observe to be the most important needs of students as they emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for the new school year. We offer the units in a suggested sequence, but, because we know that some schools and districts will wish to plan their own sequence, each module can be purchased a-la-carte as well. See the “Subscription Terms and Conditions” section on this webpage for more information.

About this Unit/Module

This unit is built on research that shows that kids often read more when they read series—and it is through series fiction that they are most apt to become life-long readers. It also builds on the research that shows that kids benefit from explicit instruction in skills, and time to practice those skills with more and then less support. The unit is designed to dramatically increase kids’ stamina, their foundational skills, and their reading volume. 

Bend I of this unit rallies students to engage in high-interest fiction reading. The minilessons focus on increasing reading volume, keeping track of your reading and goal-setting, fitting more reading into your life, doing some jotting, and talking with a partner about your reading. There is a special emphasis on establishing structures that will last across the summer including partnerships and reading logs, and on supporting kids in reading with increasing stamina and high levels of engagement. 

In Bend II, students begin reading in a series, and together, explore the important work that readers do in the first book of a new series. They’ll hear that when reading fiction, the reader goes on an adventure with the main character, following the character through a sequence of problems and solutions—and noting elements of character development along the way. 

Bend III supports students in developing theories about characters based on text evidence. Students learn that they get to know characters through their actions and reactions, their thinking and feeling, and their dialogue. This bend supports students in the part-to-whole work that is so essential in series books, to encourage readers to think “How does this fit with what I read earlier in the series?” 

For more information about the TCRWP Virtual Summer School Curriculum, visit UnitsofStudy.com/SummerSchool.

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