The Up the Ladder Series
When Lucy and her coauthors worked on the Units of Study, they had to make a choice whether to "make shoes that fit—or shoes to grow into." They chose the latter, writing that curriculum for kids who are growing up within Units of Study reading and writing workshops. This means that each unit assumes students have experienced the unit that came before it. But that, of course, won’t be the case for upper-grade students entering reading and writing workshops for the first time. The Up the Ladder units are designed to help classes with upper-grade students who are new to workshop instruction or who are currently working below benchmark levels. These units meet students where they are and accelerate the development of their skills in narrative, information, and opinion writing (in the 3 writing units), and fiction and nonfiction reading (in the 2 reading units).
Up the Ladder Reading: Fiction is for upper-grade readers—and teachers—who are new to the norms and culture of reading workshop, and for readers who would benefit from foundational instruction in reading fiction. By instilling strong habits and routines, this start-of-the-year unit will prepare students to take charge of their own reading lives.
The Up the Ladder books are designed for kids in gr. 3–6 who might not have had experiences in writing workshop classrooms. The units give less experienced writers opportunities to engage in repeated successful practice and to move rapidly along a gradually increasing progression of challenges. Although designed to be precursors to the grade-level writing Units of Study, these units can be helpful in a variety of settings.
How do you support upper-grade and middle school readers if they are new to the norms and culture of reading workshop, particularly if they may also have missed some foundational instruction? How do you do this in a way that builds a strong reading community and strong habits and routines? How do you approach all this if you are new to the teaching of reading workshop? The Up the Ladder Reading units offer a very good place to start.