Beginning with the End in Mind: A Guide to Planning the Units of Study in Reading


It is so exciting to begin work on the new Units of Study in Reading!  But any new curriculum can seem daunting when you first begin to teach it!  There is a lot of information jam-packed into those units.  And while it’s all great stuff, sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming!

One of the things we have learned from our last roll out of the Writing Units of Study is that it is actually MORE difficult to just jump in and start teaching from Session 1.   When you do that, the big idea of the unit is not clear and sometimes the sessions seem confusing… “Why are they asking us to teach this now… or in this way?”  

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Successful People is Begin with the End in Mind.  Covey says that “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.  It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”   This is also true for highly successful implementation of the Units!  It is better to get a clear picture of where the unit is going, so you can make sure to stay on the right path to get there!

There are a number of things that teachers can do to help them get a big – picture look at the Unit of Study that they are going to begin.  Lots of these steps are laid out for you in the video Mini-Courses that Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project have on their website.  They are also embedded within the Guide to the Reading Workshop, which comes with the kit, and also in the units themselves!  Here is a list that we gave to our teachers to help them navigate through the work!

(You will note that this is written for a team of teachers.  It is always better to work together!  But the planning can be done on your own as well.)

Planning for the Units of Study in Reading

    1. Get a “big picture” of what this unit entails
      1. Jigsaw “An Orientation to the Unit” starting at the subtitle Overview  OR
      2.  Watch the grade level Reading Mini-Courses video on TCRWP
        1. Unit 1 for all grade levels now available
        2. Unit 2 for grades 4-5 now available
    2. Check out the online resources (To login, you will need to look at your Guide to the Reading Workshop book.  Directions to log in can be found on the inside of the front cover)
      1. Print the Pre Assessment/Post Assessment (gr 3-5)
      2. Print the Student Rubric / Learning Progression (gr 3-5)
        1. Analyze – What will the kids need to be able to do? on these assessments
      3. Check out other Unit Resources
    3. Review the “Getting Ready” section from the overview- make a list of what you will need
  1. Look at pages iv – v (The Table of Contents)
    1. Which teaching points seem most important?
    2. Which teaching points do you feel your kids already have a good grasp of?
    3. Star the lessons that you want to spend more than 1 day and STICK TO IT!
  2. The Sessions
    1. Hints on making the reading less overwhelming:
      1. In the session introduction, skip to where it says “In this session…”
      2. Don’t worry about the coaching parts on the right hand side
      3. the conferring and mid-workshop portions are suggestions – you don’t need to read through all of it if you don’t want/need to!
    2. Jigsaw the lessons in Bend 1 with your team.  Highlight the big ideas.  Share with your group.


Here is a downloadable planning sheet

Here is the TCRWP Study Guide for the Workshop Curriculum K-5

How do you prepare to teach the units?  Please let us know your thoughts!

One thought on “Beginning with the End in Mind: A Guide to Planning the Units of Study in Reading

  1. Pingback: 6 Things You Can Do Over the Summer to Prepare to Teach the UoS in Reading | Teaching and Learning

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