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Literary Nonfiction with Trade Pack

By Katie Clements, Audra Robb, Edited by Lucy Calkins, Edited by Mary Ehrenworth

In this unit, which is part of the Units of Study in Teaching Reading, Middle School Grades, you’ll introduce your students to books and media they will love, and teach them how to make the most of these portals to fascinating times, places, and people—not to escape our world, but to better understand and address its issues.

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About the Unit

In this unit, you’ll introduce your students to nonfiction books and media they will love, and teach them how to make the most of these portals to fascinating times, places, and people—not to escape our world, but to better understand and address its issues. The book-length nonfiction that middle schoolers will read possesses a unique blend of heart-rending storytelling, artful juxtaposition of subtopics, and challenging density.

The skills of this unit are essential for students coming of age in an era of global collaboration and vital in the development of a truly informed, critical electorate. Across the unit readers will cultivate their ability to:

  • Glean central ideas that are not stated outright and identify and trace implicit arguments
  • Build connections across parts of texts and across multiple texts
  • Develop the stamina, patience, and the analytic presence of mind necessary to read longer nonfiction
  • Flexibly activate their schema as they read passages that seem more informational and passages that seem more narrative in their literary nonfiction texts
  • Transfer their literary nonfiction skills to digital and hybrid media

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

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.

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