Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing A Workshop Curriculum for Kindergarten-Grade 5 High Expectations, Achievable Goals The writing units of study help teachers provide their students with instruction, opportunities for practice, and concrete doable goals to help them meet and exceed any set of high standards. Proven Tools and Methods It is an understatement to say these units have been piloted many times. The teaching in these books has been planned, taught, revised, and retaught, through a cycle of improvement involving literally thousands of classrooms in schools dotting the globe. Rather than writing a narrative the entire journey all at once, it’s easier to embark on this series of shorter, focused bends, pausing between each to regroup and prepare for the next.
When a student enters your school, what promise do you make about the writing education he or she will receive? 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.