Cart Search Mobile Navigation
Home / Lucy Calkins & Colleagues /

Additional Units

Additional Units from Lucy Calkins and Colleagues from
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Because the TCRWP is a learning organization, they are continuously building on their earlier work. The following several book-length units have been written to fit tongue and groove into the original Units of Study, yet each can also work as a self-contained stand-alone unit, offering you a chance to try on the experience of teaching with the Units before moving to the complete series.

Order the Additional Units

Additional Reading Units

Word Detectives: Strategies for Using High-Frequency Words and for Decoding, Grade 1

Elizabeth Franco and Havilah Jespersen

Word Detectives: Strategies for Using High Frequency Words and for Decoding, Grade 1Designed to be the second unit in first grade, Word Detectives supports students’ word solving skills and their knowledge of high-frequency words. This playful unit expands on the important work that the entire series does to support youngsters’ foundational reading skills.

In this unit, students will:

  • Learn to monitor their reading
  • Develop their word-solving skills
  • Become more adept at using letter–sound correspondence to tackle tricky words
  • Increase their bank of high-frequency words
  • Become more confident at using the words they know ‘in a snap’ to solve unknown words
  • Develop their fluency skills

This unit is especially perfect for classrooms where many students are moving into levels E, F, and G texts. The foundational decoding skills that students develop will put them in especially good stead before they move into reading nonfiction in Learning About the World.

Video: What do teachers need to know about the Word Detectives unit?
Download the Transcript

Mystery: Foundational Skills in Disguise, Grade 3

Brooke Geller and Alissa Reicherter with Colleagues from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project>

Mystery: Foundational Skills in Disguise, Grade 3Mysteries are the perfect vehicle for teaching foundational skills that lie at the heart of engaged reading. Students leap at the chance to do the work required to “get” the mystery, following ideas across their texts, seeing cause-and-effect relationships, and predicting outcomes. And, of course, mysteries naturally push kids to infer—to notice clues and to wonder more about them; to consider how part of one chapter relates back to what was learned in an earlier chapter; and to wonder when characters are really telling the truth.

In this unit, students will:

  • Learn to read closely to catch key details,
  • Learn to think back over and accumulate details, developing hunches, suspicions, predictions
  • Become more skilled at gathering information from texts by rereading and annotating
  • Transfer what they learn about mysteries to other types of fiction

This unit is intended to follow Building a Reading Life in the Units of Study series and to reinforce many of the key lessons on foundational skills taught in that unit. It can, however, also come later in the year. Its clear instructional arc will support and engage a wide range of learners.

Video: What do teachers need to know about the Mystery unit?
Download the Transcript

Additional Writing Units

Show and Tell: From Labels to Pattern Books, Grade K

Show and TellThis engaging new book-length unit will transform your kindergartners into inventive spellers, giving them the tools and strategies they need to approximate the words that are most meaningful for them in their own writing. The unit celebrates invented spellings as kids develop foundational skills, knowing that your front-and-center goal will be to persuade your kids that they can write, that they too can be members of the literacy club.

Show and Tell fits tongue and groove into the original Units of Study in Opinion Information, and Narrative Writing series as well as the new Units of Study in Phonics, although it can also be taught as a self-contained stand-alone unit. Throughout the unit, focused minilessons, independent writing time, and interactive writing sessions help students learn how to:

  • engage in the inventive spelling process: drawing, then labeling part by part, and revising to add more and more labels
  • write the most salient sounds in words and then “stretch out” these sounds into full words
  • string together words learned through inventive spelling into full sentences
  • create their own books, dividing their subject into chunks that can be captured across the pages of a book
  • make decisions about page layouts by studying mentor texts
  • talk about their writing with excitement and ease
  • write lots of sentences across pages in a pattern, using high-frequency words as well as words learned through inventive spelling
  • select some of their books to make “bookstore ready” and publish them

This unit is designed to be taught after Unit 1 of the Kindergarten Writing Units of Study and in conjunction with Unit 2 of the Kindergarten Phonics Units of Study. Bend 1 of Show and Tell and Bend 1 of Word Scientists, the second kindergarten unit in the new Units of Study in Phonics, were written to align perfectly with each other.

The How-To Guide for Nonfiction Writing, Grade 2

Valerie Geschwind and Jennifer DeSutter with Colleagues from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

The How-To Guide for Nonfiction Writing, Grade 2This accessible unit welcomes second graders into the world of nonfiction writing by rallying them to write lots of little nonfiction books. Youngsters learn that they can take anything they know a lot about—soccer, an ice cream shop, ladybugs—and write in ways that teach their readers about the topic. The unit helps second graders feel that puffed-up pride of being an expert and taps into their eagerness to show and tell by channeling them to write with details and with writerly craft.

In this unit, students learn to:

  • Write about areas of expertise
  • Read mentor texts to study nonfiction writers craft
  • Elaborate
  • Write for readers, anticipting their questions and hooking their interest
  • Experiment with different kinds of nonfiction writing

This unit is intended as Unit 2 for second grade, but can also come at other times in the year. It can serve as a prequel to Lab Reports and Science Books.

Video: What do teachers need to know about the How-To Guide for Nonfiction Writing unit?
Download the Transcript

Literary Essay: Opening Texts and Seeing More, Grade 5

Katie Clements and Mike Ochs

Literary Essay: Opening Texts and Seeing More, Grade 5This unit helps fifth graders meet sky-high expectations for writing literary essays. Members of the class begin by writing an essay about a shared story—a poignant video clip that they watch and discuss together. With that shared experience work as a foundation, fifth graders then learn to design, write, and revise interpretive essays about short stories. Throughout this work, the children—and you, their teachers—are given crystal-clear tips that convey the TCRWP’s latest thinking on this important topic. The unit ends by teaching kids to transfer all they have learned to new circumstances, including those posed by high-stakes tests.

Students learn to:

  • Write to grow ideas about a text
  • Read interpretively
  • Reread closely and carefully to identify evidence that best supports a claim
  • Support a thesis with a variety of evidence
  • Draft and revise thesis statements that capture the themes of a story and that forecast ways their essays will support their theses
  • Transfer and apply their essay writing to respond to prompts and real-world situations

This unit is best taught after students have some experience writing opinion texts. Several books in the Units of Study series support this work, including two fourth-grade writing units—Boxes and Bullets: Personal and Persuasive Essays and The Literary Essay: Writing About Fiction—and the fifth-grade reading unit, Interpretation Book Clubs: Analyzing Themes.

Video: What do teachers need to know about the Literary Essay unit?
Download the Transcript