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A Deep Study of Character with Trade Pack

By Mary Ehrenworth, Edited by Lucy Calkins

This unit serves as a primer in what it means to participate in an intense reading workshop. It introduces students to a variety of instructional methods and coaches both teachers and students in how to harness those methods to increase reading expertise and independence.

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About the Unit

This unit serves as a primer in what it means to participate in an intense reading workshop. It introduces students to a variety of instructional methods such as read-aloud, partner work, and minilessons, and coaches both teachers and students in how to harness those methods to increase reading expertise and independence.

Students will learn to consider more complex character traits, to investigate how setting shapes characters, and to analyze how characters are vehicles for themes. The unit also helps readers take more charge of their reading lives and engages students with close reading, gathering text evidence, and weighing and evaluating multiple theories about complex characters.

This is an ideal unit for the beginning of the school year, offering extra support for organizing a classroom library, matching readers to books, organizing partnerships, and planning for reading workshops.

Note: resources for teaching A Deep Study of Character in more than one grade level, including alternate read-alouds and minilessons with these texts, are available on the online resources for this unit.

About the Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Middle Grades Series

We want our middle grades students to become flexible, resilient readers, we want them to have a toolkit of strategies for dealing with difficulty, and we want them to read broadly and deeply, alert to the intricacies of texts and to the power of language. To accomplish such ambitious goals, we need classroom structures and resources that support this kind of explicit teaching and learning. The reading workshop offers a simple and predictable framework for teaching strategies and for giving students feedback while they are in the midst of the ever-changing, complex reading work they will do across the middle school grades.  

The Units of Study for Teaching Reading series saves teachers hundreds of hours of planning, freeing time for analyzing student work, working with individuals and small groups, and for studying with colleagues. The series provides teachers with the tools and support they need to move students quickly and efficiently toward grade-level expectations, while also helping kids become proficient, lifelong readers.

Additional Resource Information

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