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Units of Study – Writing

At the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, we have been working for three decades to develop, pilot, revise, and implement state-of-the art curriculum in writing. We have had a chance to do this work under the influence of Common Core for the past few years, and this series—this treasure chest of experiences, theories, techniques, tried-and-true methods, and questions—will bring the results of that work to you. Lucy Calkins

Units of Study for Teaching Writing Video Orientations, Grades K-8 — View now!

Built on best practices and a proven framework developed over decades of work, the Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing:

  • support explicit instruction in opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing and provide rich opportunities for practice
  • help teachers use learning progressions to observe and assess students' writing, to develop students' use of self-monitoring strategies, and to set students on trajectories of growth
  • give teachers crystal-clear advice and on-the-job support for teaching efficient and effective writing workshops

Writing Bill of Rights

When a student enters your school, what promise do you make about the writing education he or she will receive? Lucy Calkins
A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop

1. Writing needs to be taught like any other basic skill, with explicit instruction and ample opportunity for practice. Almost every day, every student needs between fifty and sixty minutes for writing instruction.

2. Students deserve to write for real, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world—nonfiction chapter books, persuasive letters, stories, lab reports, reviews, poems—and to write for an audience of readers, not just for the teacher’s red pen.

3. Writers write to put meaning onto the page. Young people will especially invest themselves in their writing if they write about subjects that are important to them. The easiest way to support investment in writing is to teach children to choose their own topics most of the time.

4. Children deserve to be explicitly taught how to write. Instruction matters—and this includes instruction in spelling and conventions, as well as in the qualities and strategies of good writing.

5. Students deserve the opportunity and instruction necessary for them to cycle through the writing process as they write: rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their writing.

6. Writers read. For children to write well, they need opportunities to read and hear texts read, and to read as insiders, studying what other authors have done that they, too, could try.

7. Students deserve clear goals and frequent feedback. They need to hear ways their writing is getting better and to know what their next steps might be.

Read More . . .

To read more about how you can work with colleagues to articulate the vision guiding writing instruction at your school, download the sample chapter for your grade level, excerpted from A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop (Primary, Intermediate, and Middle School Grades). Note that the Guides for each grade level are components in the Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing, K–8 series.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Classroom Videos from TCRWP


Series Components

Grade 1 Units
  • Four Units of Study per grade level, K–5, and three Units of Study per grade level, 6–8: Include all the teaching points, minilessons, conferences, and small group work for a comprehensive workshop curriculum.
  • A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop: Describes the essential principles, methods, and structures of effective writing workshop instruction. (Guides for Primary Grades, Intermediate Grades, and Middle School Grades are now available for separate purchase: Ideal for principals, curriculum coordinators, coaches, and other who are supporting teachers as they implement Units of Study.)
  • If...Then...Curriculum: Assessment-Based Instruction, Grades K–5 and 6–8: Contains additional units to support and extend instruction and to prepare students for work in the main units as needed.
  • Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, Grades K–5 and 6–8: A powerful assessment system offering learning progressions, performance assessments, student checklists, rubrics, and leveled writing exemplars. (Also available in a K–8 edition for separate purchase: Ideal for principals, curriculum coordinators, coaches, and other who are supporting teachers as they implement Units of Study.)
  • Large-Format Anchor Chart sticky notes for grades K–5
  • Online Resources for Teaching Writing: offers downloadable, printable files for the anchor charts, figures, student exemplars, homework assignments, and checklists in every session as well as digital files for resources provided in Writing Pathways, including Writing Progressions, On-Demand Writing Prompts, Rubrics, and Student Writing Samples.
  • Online Spanish translations of student resources including writing samples to use with Writing Pathways, student checklists, Anchor Chart Sticky Notes, and numerous other classroom materials such as daily charts, folders, and parent letters. Also included are lists of Spanish-language mentor texts.
  • Online Video Orientations
  • Units of Study Trade Book Packs (grades K–5 only; recommended optional purchase): Used to model effective writing techniques, encourage students to read as writers, and provide background knowledge.

Order Units of Study for Teaching Writing, K–8

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Replacement Sticky Notes

Replacement pads for your Anchor Chart and Read-Aloud Prompts sticky notes are available to purchase. Please note, however, that these pads are only available as a convenience to users of the Units of Study and not available for separate purchase by nonusers.

For complete ordering details, please refer to the Online Resources for your registered Units. Additionally, feel free to contact your Heinemann sales representative for assistance.