|Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing:
A Common Core Workshop Curriculum
The series that helped hundreds of thousands of educators revolutionize their primary and intermediate writing workshop instruction is now offering the grade-specific support teachers have been clamoring for. Building on the best practices and proven frameworks in the original Units of Study for Teaching Writing series, this new series by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Reading and Writing Project offers grade-by-grade plans for teaching writing workshops that help students meet and exceed the Common Core State Standards.
This series is being published just as the United States sets out on an effort to lift the level of literacy instruction across all our schools, making sure that students enter college and 21st century careers ready to flourish. The Common Core State Standards have set the bar to a height that no one teacher, no single year of teaching, can attain. Young writers grow as oak trees do, over years, making it imperative that schools provide an aligned, coherent system to support their progress in opinion/argument, information and narrative writing.
As schools hear the rallying cry of the Common Core and move to develop school-wide, coherent approaches to teaching writing, they needn't invent curriculum on their own. For decades now, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, the organization of staff developers and teachers I lead, has been piloting, refining, adapting, developing a K-8 system of writing instruction. Many of The Reading and Writing Project's ideas on teaching writing have been, from the start, a part of the Common Core, but the Common Core also issued new challenges-ones that The Reading and Writing Project began working towards when the Common Core was just a whiff of a draft. This sequence of CCSS-aligned units in narrative, opinion and information writing, then, bears the stamp of both the Common Core and of thirty-five years of research and development.