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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.

Boxed Set

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List Price: $298.75

Web/School Price: $239.00


This product is part of the series:  The Units of Study for Teaching Reading Series

Full Description

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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Purchase Recommendations and Options

Purchase Recommendation: Choose the Grade 3 Units of Study with the Trade Book Pack if your library does not already include the mentor texts referenced in the Units. If you do not need the trade book pack, purchase the Grade 3 Units of Study without the Trade Book Pack (as shown in this product bundle).

Save when you purchase related cost-saving bundles, with or without trade book packs:

Select the Grade-Level Units you need most, available both with and without the trade book packs

To learn more about the Units of Study for Teaching Reading series, visit


Four Units of Study

  • comprised of 2 units in fiction and 2 units in nonfiction
  • lay out 4-5 weeks of instruction (16-18 sessions) in each unit
  • include all of the teaching points, minilessons, conferences, and small-group work needed to teach a comprehensive workshop curriculum
  • model Lucy and her colleagues’ carefully crafted teaching moves and language

A Guide to the Reading Workshop, Intermediate Grades

  • crystallizes the essential principles, methods, and structures of effective reading workshop instruction (The Guidenow available for separate purchase, can be an essential manual for principals, curriculum coordinators, coaches, and others who are supporting implementation of Units of Study—or for anyone wanting to learn more about reading workshop).

If… Then… Curriculum

  • offers additional units of study
  • presents if/then conferring scenarios that support targeted instruction and differentiation

Reading Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions

  • organized around a grades 3-5 learning progression
  • includes performance assessments, student checklists, and rubrics

Large-Format Anchor Chart Sticky Notes

  • Large-format preprinted Anchor-Chart Sticky Notes with illustrated teaching points help teachers create and evolve anchor charts across each unit

Online Resources

  • Video Orientations
  • Spanish translations of important resources—includes Spanish translations of Anchor Chart Sticky Notes and Learning Progressions. Also available are lists of Spanish-language mentor texts and translated Teaching Points.
  • Downloadable and printable files for the anchor charts, figures, student exemplars, homework assignments, and checklists in every session
  • Digital files for resources provided in Reading Pathways, including Learning Progressions, sample student work, and charts 


Companion Resources

Mentor Texts 

The Grade 3 Trade Pack includes age-appropriate texts that feature heavily in the units. They are teaching texts, meant to be used in read aloud or shared reading to model effective reading strategies and provide background knowledge. 

  • Because Of Winn-Dixie by DiCamillo, Kate
  • Frogs! by Elizabeth Carney
  • Frogs And Toads by Bobbie Kalman
  • Gorillas by Lori McManus
  • The Life Cycle Of An Emperor Penguin by Bobbie Kalman & Robin Johnson
  • The Life Cycle Of A Frog by Bobbie Kalman & Kathryn Smithyman
  • Make Way For Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes
  • The Penguin, A Funny Bird by Beatrice Fontanel
  • Penguins by Bobbie Kalman
  • Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Independent Reading for Students

The following TCRWP Classroom Libraries shelves were curated to specifically align with the Third Grade Units of Study.

Supporting Materials

Also in this series