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Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grade 4 with Trade Book Pack

A Workshop Curriculum

By Lucy Calkins

Fourth graders are on the verge of writing more academic texts. They begin the year writing realistic fiction and learn to develop rich characters and stories. The units then bring students step-by-step toward increasing proficiency with these genres: thesis-driven persuasive essays in unit 2, historical research reports in unit 3, and writing about fiction in literary essays in the final unit. 

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About the Grade 4 Units

Written for children on the cusp of writing more academic texts, the fourth-grade units familiarizes students with the genres they will regularly encounter throughout school—thesis-driven persuasive essays, literary essays, and research reports. Each of the units begins where children are and then provides a progression of instruction that brings students step by step toward increasing proficiency. In Unit 1, The Arc of Story: Writing Realistic Fiction, students learn that the lenses they bring to reading fiction can also be brought to writing fiction, as they develop believable characters with struggles and motivations and rich stories to tell. This unit is followed by Boxes and Bullets: Personal and Persuasive Essays in which students learn the value of organization and form as they gather evidence to support and express an opinion on topics they know well. By Unit 3, Bringing History to Life, students are ready to tackle historical research in which they collect evidence and use details to vividly describe people and events long ago and far away. Unit 4, The Literary Essay: Writing About Fiction, brings the series full circle as students build on their learning of essay writing and apply it with increasing sophistication to a unit on literary essays—that is, writing about fiction.

About the Series

Lucy Calkins and her colleagues have drawn on their work from more than three decades to develop a state-of-the-art curriculum in writing to:

  • help you teach opinion, information, and narrative writing with increasing complexity
  • foster high-level thinking, including regular chances to synthesize, analyze, and critique
  • develop and refine strategies for content-area writing
  • support greater independence and fluency
  • conduct strategic performance assessments to help monitor students’ progress and differentiate instruction
  • provide a ladder of exemplar texts that model writing progressions across grades.

Additional Resource Information

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