1st Edition

Growing Readers Units of Study in the Primary Classroom

By Kathy Collins Copyright 2004

    Primary-grade teachers face an important challenge: teaching children how to read while enabling them to build good habits so they fall in love with reading. Many teachers find the independent reading workshop to be the component of reading instruction that meets this challenge because it makes it possible to teach the reading skills and strategies children need and guides them toward independence, intention, and joy as readers. In Growing Readers, Kathy Collins helps teachers plan for independent reading workshops in their own classrooms. She describes the structure of the independent reading workshop and other components of a balanced literacy program that work together to ensure young students grow into strong, well-rounded readers. Kathy outlines a sequence of possible units of study for a yearlong curriculum. Chapters are devoted to the individual units of study and include a sample curriculum as well as examples of mini-lessons and reading conferences. There are also four “Getting Ready” sections that suggest some behind-the-scenes work teachers can do to prepare for the units. Topics explored in these units include:print and comprehension strategies;reading in genres such as poetry and nonfiction;connecting in-school reading and out-of-school reading;developing the strategies and habits of lifelong readers. A series of planning sheets and management tips are presented throughout to help ensure smooth implementation. We want our students to learn to read, and we want them to love to read. To do this we need to lay a foundation on which children build rich and purposeful reading lives that extend beyond the school day. The ideas found in Growing Readers create the kind of primary classrooms where that happens.

    Chapter 1: Creating Classrooms for Learners, Thinkers, and Talkers; Chapter 2: Experiences in Literacy Throughout the Day; Chapter 3: Units of Study in a Primary Reading Workshop; Getting Ready: Setting the Tone and the Bottom Lines; Chapter 4: Readers Build Good Habits; Getting Ready: Behind-the-Scenes Work; Chapter 5: Readers Use Strategies to Figure Out Words; Getting Ready: Talk Amongst Yourselves; Chapter 6: Readers Think and Talk About Books to Grow Ideas; Getting Ready: Finding Reading Mentors and Setting Up Reading Centers; Chapter 7: Readers Pursue Their Interests in Books and Other Texts; Chapter 8: Readers Make Plans for Their Reading Lives


    Kathy Collins works at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University, as a Primary Reading Specialist. She taught first grade at P. S. 321 in Brooklyn, and she has worked in schools around the country as a staff developer and consultant on primary reading instruction