• Launching Reading Workshop in Middle School

    The purpose of this unit is to re-introduce and reinforce to students experienced with the Reading Workshop the schedule and routine of the reading portion of their Integrated Language Arts Class. During this unit, students will learn to “engage intellectually with their books and with their reading lives right from the first day of school” (Calkins, 2011). For students who are new to the Workshop model, this unit will introduce them to the routines and outline of the course. They will become familiar with expectations.


    Unit 1: Deep Study of Character

    In this unit students will grow as readers through a deep study of character. They will grow by learning to consider more complex character traits, to investigate how setting shapes characters, and to analyze how characters are vehicles for themes.  It is also for readers who need to take more charge of their reading lives, so that they read more, they annotate and jot in ways that deepen their thinking, and they hold smart literary conversations with other readers. This unit is also kind of a primer in what it means to participate in an intense reading workshop. It introduces students to a variety of instructional methods, and coaches both teachers and readers how to harness those methods to increase expertise and independence. 


    Unit 2: Tapping the Power of Nonfiction

    In this unit students will develop nonfiction reading skills that are essential to students’ achievement in virtually every academic discipline. Across this unit, you’ll help your students will develop a solid set of nonfiction reading skills: discerning central ideas, summarizing to create a concise version of a text, synthesizing within and across texts, building vocabulary, growing ideas, and reading critically to question the author’s point of view and perspective. As the same time, you will teach students to develop flexibility as they read across text types, reading a variety of nonfiction texts. Students will learn to build up their background knowledge, so they are not intimidated by unfamiliar texts and topics, but instead have skills to confidently read and learn from those texts.


    Unit 3: Close Reading

    The purpose of this unit is to teach students to observe literature closely, to understand some of the craft of literature, to support their ideas with finely grained evidence, and to remain open to contradictory ideas. Students will be analytical and persuasive and will be able to back up their ideas from the texts.


    Unit 4: Social Issues Book Clubs

    In middle school, many kinds of issues start to weigh more heavily on students. There are relationship issues, school issues, and a growing awareness of larger societal pressures.  There can be serious consequences to the spiraling troubles that surround middle school kids. Reading literature has proven to increase people’s ability to empathize with others, and to become more socially aware.  A driving force in this unit is the power of reading to transform how we see others and to show us new ways to be kind, to connect, and to stand up for what’s right.