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Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 3

A Workshop Curriculum

By Lucy Calkins, Kathleen Tolan, Julia Mooney, Kristin Smith, Alexandra Marron, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project

In third grade, children transition from learning to read to reading to learn. These upper elementary school learners immerse themselves in within-reach fiction books and expository nonfiction as they work on vocabulary development, envisionment, ascertaining main ideas, recognizing text infrastructure, and thinking critically. The final unit invites youngsters to treat texts like teachers as kids pore through information about animals.

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About the Grade 3 Units

The third-grade units were written to support the crucial transition children make from learning to read to reading to learn. The opening unit, Building a Reading Life, launches your students’ lives as upper elementary school readers. Children ramp up their reading skills by immersing themselves in within-reach fiction books while working on word solving, vocabulary development, envisionment, and prediction. The second unit, Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures, addresses essential skills for reading expository nonfiction, such as ascertaining main ideas, recognizing text infrastructure, comparing texts, and thinking critically, as well as the skills for reading narrative nonfiction, such as determining importance by using knowledge of story structure. The third unit, Character Studies, lures children into fiction books, teaching them to closely observe characters, make predictions, and sharpen their skills in interpretation. The final unit, Research Clubs: Elephants, Penguins, and Frogs, Oh My!, shows youngsters how to turn to texts as their teachers. Children work in clubs to gather, synthesize, and organize information about animals, and then use this information to seek solutions to real-world problems.

About the Series

Drawing on learning gleaned from decades of research, curriculum development, and working shoulder-to-shoulder with students, teachers, and school leaders, Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project have developed the Units of Study for Teaching Reading. Designed to meet ambitious 21st century global standards, this reading series offers grade-by-grade curricula rooted in the Project’s best practices and newest thinking. It includes state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading skills and strategies, grounded in the Project’s learning progressions for narrative and informational reading. 

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