UNIT ONE Building Good Reading Habits. The start of first grade is a time for dusting off the skills and habits that children learned during kindergarten. The theme “readers have good habits” unites all the various reminders we will be giving kids so these reminders are more easily remembered. At the start of this unit, we remind readers about the good habits they already use at the beginnings, the middles, and the ends of books. For example, we’ll remind them to preview books so their word work happens with an awareness of the entire story. First graders must become more efficient and flexible word solvers. Later, we will emphasize word solving as we teach students to draw upon good habits for getting unstuck as they read. Once students begin to develop those good habits, we’ll establish partnerships that tap into the social power of peers working together to help each other become more strategic as readers.
UNIT TWO Learning About the World Reading Nonfiction In this unit, we’ll appeal to children’s natural curiosity. It’s early in first grade, so to support continued reading growth, this unit balances support for nonfiction with support for reading processes. We’ll teach children strategies to get smart on nonfiction topics, but we’ll also be teaching comprehension strategies such as previewing, predicting, noticing text structures, and synthesizing information from multiple sources (the picture, the print, the text boxes). We’ll spotlight word solving and vocabulary, helping first graders develop the flexibility they need to make extraordinary progress over the course of this year. Later in the unit, we’ll shift emphasis to building fluency and studying craft, teaching students to reread, to sound like an expert, and to notice craft moves.
First Grade UNIT THREE Readers Have Big Jobs to Do Fluency, Phonics, and Comprehension This unit, all about the reading process, sets children up to be able to read increasingly complex texts with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension, all of which require the development of great problem-solving skills. Many first graders are avid collectors; in this unit, you will invite them to gather the reading strategies they’ll need to have at their fingertips when the going gets rough. This unit begins by helping readers develop the mind-set to take charge of their own reading. Children will learn to stop as soon as they encounter difficulty, draw from the strategies they’ve been accumulating all year, and then check to see that what they’ve done makes sense. Then we’ll focus on strengthening and expanding students’ word-solving strategies, reminding them to draw from multiple sources of information. The unit then shifts the attention toward monitoring for meaning.
UNIT FOUR Meeting Characters and Learning Lessons A Study of Story Elements. After a sequence of units focused tightly on reading process, now we’ll spotlight story elements and the skills that are foundational to literal and inferential comprehension. This unit teaches empathy, imagination, envisioning, prediction—all comprehension skills that add up to engagement. We’ll also teach strategies for holding onto longer and more complex stories and for determining importance. Later we’ll shift to a closer study of characters. We’ll teach children to draw from text details to grow ideas about characters and to read in a way that brings them to life. We’ll teach that stories contain life lessons, that cracking open a book is like cracking open a fortune cookie and finding a message hidden within.