New School Year, New Reading Units of Study for K-4 Welcome back students and families! We are excited for the 2015-2016 academic year for so many wonderful reasons! As always, we are thrilled to work with our classrooms of students and to help move them even further along on their learning journeys! What makes this year EXTRA special is that our K-4 classrooms now have the new Reading Units of Study from Columbia Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project. After issuing paper units for several years to participating districts such as RSD17, TCRWP has published new book units that encompass the depth and breadth of their ongoing research, pioneering vision and copious resources. We couldn’t be more excited! To give you a small taste of the thinking behind TCRWP’s philosophy of teaching of reading, here is an excerpt from the Guide to The Reading Workshop by Lucy Calkins: How do we teach reading—the soul-searching kind of reading, the reading that makes you feel as if you are breathing some new kind of air? How do we teach the kind of reading that makes you walk through the world differently because a lightbulb is no longer a lightbulb—it’s filaments and electricity and the Industrial Revolution and all the rest that tumbles around that? How do we teach the power of reading—the way it allows us to see under the words, between the words, beyond words? How do we teach the intimacy of reading—of belonging to a community that has a shared vocabulary, shared stories, shared petitions and projects? Our Reading Workshops have long been informed and shaped by the vision and ongoing professional development of the TCRWP. The new Reading Units of Study give our already talented teachers even more powerful tools for growing lifelong, passionate readers. Logs, Choice, Volume of Reading and Reading Levels Research shows that we get better at reading by reading. Reading a LOT! Our students read books of their choice at their just-right levels. Our reading logs are places where we record our reading so we can analyze our patterns and growth. Home reading logs are not intended for compliance, or for students to “prove” that they’ve completed their nightly reading. Far from it! The log is intended to be a tool for students to reflect upon and celebrate goals set and achieved, and to work with their classroom teacher to discuss volume and variety of reading. We want our students to be excited to record their reading so they can share with their classmates and teachers while also becoming more deeply passionate and metacognitive about the books they choose, their stamina, and how successfully they are using the skills and strategies necessary for comprehending increasingly complex text. If your child struggles to complete his or her home reading log, please see your classroom teacher for suggestions. We want our home/school connection to be strong and meaningful! Our students are cognizant of their reading levels so they can locate and read just-right books of their choice. Our classroom libraries are rich with quality, high-interest texts. We conduct many assessments throughout the year to track student progress and make informed instructional decisions. There are some reading levels where children may “linger longer” in order to master the expectations of those levels. We help our students develop strong literal and inferential comprehension, high accuracy and competent fluency at every level. Most importantly, we want our students to LOVE reading—both at school and at home!