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Reading Reconsidered Curriculum

A curriculum written by and for people who love books.

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What’s Distinctive About Our Curriculum

Knowledge Building

Research tells us that background knowledge is at least as important to reading comprehension as reading “skills.” Knowledge—of history, science, literary terms, vocabulary—is the chicken and the egg. Knowledge is the outcome of successful reading as well as the wellspring that feeds it.

Our approach to building and reinforcing knowledge is both text-specific and long-term. From a text-specific perspective, we infuse our lessons with directly useful knowledge to increase how much students understand of and learn from that particular text. From a long-term perspective, we seek to build a strong base of knowledge that increases student understanding of important ideas and concepts that they are likely to encounter in the future, and we provide cognitive research-based ways of encoding that knowledge into long term memory.

Writing Intensive

Writing is among the most important thinking work that students can do. It’s also among the most challenging tasks for students, and one of the hardest to teach. We think strong lessons should make sure that students learn to write as a way to develop and refine their understanding of text. Our curriculum asks students to write—constantly—in three different ways:

  • Developmental writing consists of exercises, embedded in the content of the reading, that seek to develop students’ syntactic control by focusing on craft at the sentence level.
  • Formative writing consists of exercises that let students use writing as a tool to develop and expand their thinking—to “think in writing.”
  • Summative writing asks students to form and develop paragraphs that explain and provide evidence for a more developed argument about the text.

Novel Centric

Our units seek to put the text—and often reading the text with classmates—at the center of the lesson. One of the first things you’ll notice about our curriculum is that lesson objectives are text-driven: they describe what we want students to understand about the passage of text they are reading that day. Most likely you will never see the same lesson objective twice. They’re unique to each lesson because they are specific to the passage or text.

We ask students to engage with text in three different ways: Accountable Independent Reading (silent, autonomous reading), Control the Game (shared read-aloud between students and teachers), and Read Aloud (teachers reading texts out loud). These last two forms of reading are especially important to us and represent a departure from many curriculums. Reading, we believe, competes with other forms of media for students’ attention and interest. Using social oral reading is a powerful way to build a culture of pleasure not only in texts but also in the act of reading. Students hearing their teacher and peers read out loud with joy and expression connects them to the idea that the book is relevant, worthwhile, and joyful.

Modular

We think a great curriculum should be modular, meaning that a school or a teacher can choose from a variety of outstanding texts at a given grade level to assemble their own scope and sequence for the year. Our curriculum is built in roughly six-week units, and schools can purchase one unit or as many as they wish.

Would you like to try a unit? Email us at:

Novels

Choose the novels you want to read with your students.

Grade 5

Lexile Level: 770 – 1080

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (670)
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (750)
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis (790)
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (920)
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (950)
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (930)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (750)

Grade 6

Lexile Level: 855 – 1165

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (750)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (760)
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (780)
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl (1020)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (920)
Heroes, Gods, and Monsters by Bernard Evslin (800)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (990)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (750)

Grade 7

Lexile Level: 925 – 1235

House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (870)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (920)
Lord of The Flies by William Golding (940)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (920)
The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff (1220)
• Narrative Short Story Unit

Grade 8

Lexile Level: 985 – 1295

A Raisin in The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (920)
Lord of The Flies by William Golding (940)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1000)
• Sci-Fi Short Fiction Unit
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (1090)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1170)

We believe many of these books can be used at different grade levels than we have proposed and support your using them as you see fit. In several cases, we have proposed books at two levels because particular considerations (e.g., mature content) or opportunities for enrichment exist.

More units will be available throughout 2020-2021, including Island of the Blue Dolphins, Shakespeare, I am Malala, Tuck Everlasting, and more.

Samples

Click below to see examples from our One Crazy Summer unit.

Overview and day-by-day snapshot of the unit, including objectives and standards alignment

One-page study and reference tool of the key knowledge built over the course of the unit

Teacher-facing guide to the day’s lesson

Student-facing printable with writing space and embedded nonfiction

Videos

See teachers and students in action with the Reading Reconsidered Curriculum

Watch Christine Torres teach and practice Explicit Vocabulary with her 5th graders as part of the Number the Stars unit.

In this clip, Sarah Wright uses Turn and Talk and Cold Call to review a Do Now with her 6th graders during the Esperanza Rising unit.

During the Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry unit, Hasan Clayton asks his students to make connections between the novel and a nonfiction article about the time period.

Contact

We’d love to hear from you!

Interested in learning more, piloting a unit, or have specific implementation questions?
Please reach out to us at: