–Article by School News Network: Having trouble sounding out tricky words, identifying consonant cousins or picking out vowel teams? You would be in good hands to ask for help from the 20 or so badge-carrying word detectives in Lana Tran’s first-grade classroom at Knapp Forest Elementary.
For the first full school year, students across the district are using the Units of Study for Teaching Reading, a curriculum developed by author and educator Lucy Calkins. The four first-grade teachers at Knapp Forest just wrapped up the “Building Good Reading Habits” unit — reading long and strong, solving hard words, and working with a partner — that will help build skills for the rest of the year.
Tran, who has been teaching more than 20 years, said she likes Units of Study because it benefits all levels: from non-readers to English language learners to high achievers. “The teaching points are rigorous and really push kids to think deeply about their books,” she said. “I love that the skills are also extended beyond a single day, which is what first-graders need. I find that I need to do certain lessons for two days to give my kids more practice. It feels like there’s an emphasis on mastery rather than simple exposure. It is encouraging for me to see that we continue to revisit the strategies over the course of units.”
To read more about how first-grade students at Knapp Forest are becoming word detectives and to see photographs of students in action with their books, see the complete story online with School News Network.