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Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 4

A Workshop Curriculum

By Lucy Calkins, Kathleen Tolan, Emily Butler Smith, Mike Ochs, Janet L. Steinberg, Grace Chough, Mary Ehrenworth, Alexandra Marron, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project

Fourth graders are ready to delve into complex texts. In Unit 1 children study the complexity of characters and themes. Unit 2 invites students to form research teams to investigate topics about extreme weather. In Unit 3, kids explore history while developing their skills in cross-text synthesis, close reading, and evaluating multiple points of view. Finally, in the fourth unit students join historical fiction clubs.

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About the Grade 4 Units

In fourth grade, you’ll help children delve into complex texts and see significance in details. In the first unit, Interpreting Characters: The Heart of the Story, children study the complexity of characters and explore themes while developing skills such as inference and interpretation. In the second unit, Reading the Weather, Reading the World, children form research teams to delve into topics about extreme weather and natural disasters while developing their skills in cross-text synthesis, practicing close reading, comparing and contrasting, and evaluating sources to determine credibility. Children take on the challenge of researching history in the third unit, Reading History: The American Revolution. Children study multiple points of view, support a position with reasons and evidence, tackle complex texts, and learn strategies for using new domain-specific words. In the final unit for fourth grade, Historical Fiction Clubs, children practice reading analytically, synthesizing complicated narratives, comparing and contrasting themes, and incorporating nonfiction research into their reading.

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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