• Reading
      • Reading Units of Study

    At Heards Ferry Elementary our teachers use the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project's Reading Units of Study to guide our Reading instruction. This way of teaching is backed by an abundance of research and helps to grow our teachers' understanding of how students learn so that students can reach their fullest potential. Reading Units of Study is a workshop approach to the teaching of Reading.

    Why Workshop?

    The Reading and Writing Project’s approach to instruction recognizes that “one size fits all” does not match the realities of the classrooms and schools in which they work. When you walk into a workshop classroom at any given moment, you’ll see instruction that is designed to:

    • Help teachers address each child’s individual learning.
    • Explicitly teach strategies students will use not only the day they are taught, but whenever they need them.
    • Support small-group work and conferring, with multiple opportunities for personalizing instruction.
    • Tap into the power of a learning community as a way to bring all learners along.
    • Build choice and assessment-based learning into the very design of the curriculum.
    • Help students work with engagement so that teachers are able to coach individuals and lead small groups.

    The routines and structures of reading and writing workshop are kept simple and predictable so that the teacher can focus on the complex work of teaching in a responsive manner to accelerate achievement for all learners.

    To learn more about Reading Units of Study click here.

    The Lexile Framework for Reading

    The Lexile® Framework is an educational tool that links text complexity and readers’ ability on a common scale metric known as the Lexile.  A student receives a Lexile reader measure as a score from a reading test; the Lexile describes the student’s reading ability. Books and other texts also have a Lexile measure associated with them, and this Lexile describes the book's reading demand or difficulty.  When used together, these measures can help match a reader with reading material that is at an appropriate difficulty level, or help give an idea of how well a reader will comprehend a text.

    In Georgia students will receive a Lexile measure when they receive a scale score on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade or End of Course English Language Arts (ELA) assessment.  This Lexile is based on the reading portion of the ELA test.

    Lexile information can be a resource for parents and educators that focuses on improving reading skills and increasing adolescent literacy. A student’s Lexile measure can be used to monitor his or her growth in reading ability over time. 


    • Writing
      • Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing

    At Heards Ferry Elementary our teachers use the Teachers College Writing Units of Study curriculum. 

    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 achievable goals to help them meet and exceed any set of high standards.

    A Clear Instructional Arc

    Each writing unit represents about five to six weeks of teaching, structured into three or four “bends in the road.” Rather than tackling 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.

    The 7 Essentials of Writing Instruction are at the Heart of the Writing Units of Study         

    "When a student enters your school, what promise do you make about the writing education he or she will receive?"- Lucy Calkins

    1. 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.                                  
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Students deserve the opportunity and instruction necessary for them to cycle through the writing processas they write: rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their writing.
    6. Writers read.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.
    7. Students deserve clear goals and frequent feedback.They need to hear ways their writing is getting better and to know what their next steps might be.


    Click here to learn more about Writing Units of Study