Up the Ladder: Accessing Grades 3–6 Writing Units of Study

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Up the Ladder: Accessing Grades 3–6 Writing Units of Study

By Lucy Calkins, Kelly Boland Hohne, Celena Dangler Larkey, Shana Frazin, Hareem A. Khan more
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The Up the Ladder books are designed for children in grades 3–6 who may not yet have had many opportunities to practice writing narrative, information, and opinion pieces, or might not have had those experiences in workshop-style classrooms. The units give these children opportunities to engage in repeated successful practice and to move rapidly along a gradually increasing progression of challenges.

The Up the Ladder Units:

  • give less experienced writers intense writing practice within a short timeframe
  • teach foundational primary-grade strategies through content, topics, and mentor texts that are appropriate for grades 3–6
  • include concise, accessible student checklists and guidelines for daily assessment
  • support teachers with an introduction to the workshop framework and writing process, tips and strategies for classroom management, and video demonstrations of the minilessons
  • engage young people in work that is demanding yet attainable
  • ensure that students make rapid and dramatic progress toward grade-level writing work.

While the Up the Ladder units are designed to be precursors to the grade-level Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, 3­­–6, they can be helpful in a variety of instructional settings.

This is a boxed set.

Three Up the Ladder Writing units (20–22 sessions in each)
  • Narrative
  • Information
  • Opinion
Series overview
When Lucy and her coauthors worked on the Units of Study, they had to make a choice whether to “make shoes that fit—or shoes to grow into.” They chose the latter, writing that curriculum for kids who are growing up within Units of Study reading and writing workshops. This means that each unit assumes students have experienced the unit that came before it. But that, of course, won’t be the case for upper-grade students entering reading and writing workshops for the first time.

The Up the Ladder books are designed to help classes with upper-grade students who are new to workshop instruction or who are currently working below benchmark levels. The units meet students where they are and accelerate the development of their skills in narrative, information, and opinion writing (in the 3 writing units), and fiction and nonfiction reading (in the 2 reading units).

The Up the Ladder units are designed to be absolutely engaging for students in grades 3 and up, but the primary goal has been to ensure that students make rapid, dramatic progress toward grade-level work. Lucy Calkins has analysed the progression of skills taught across elementary and middle-school grades, identified the most critical foundational skills, and then devised the Up the Ladder units to give students a clear pathway to support the development of these key skills.

Preview samples

Visit the Lucy Calkins site where you can discover all the latest components in this series and preview samples.