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New Kindergarten Unit Coming Soon!

We are excited to announce that Looking Closely Like Scientists, a new Units of Study book for kindergarten writers, is in the works. The unit will be co-authored by Allyse Bader, Lizzie Hetzer and Marie Mounteer. “We’re looking forward to turning this unit into a book,” Allyse says, “It’s been a long time favorite among kindergarten teachers across the country—and it’s also a unit that has undergone especially dramatic revision.”

The unit is a favorite because it taps into young children’s love of acorns, slugs, and leaves while also supporting their foundational skills development. Imagine a group of kindergarteners, buzzing with talk as one draws an oak leaf, another, a pine cone. Drawing soon gives way to labeling, and with coaching from a teacher, students label in whole sentences, with words spelled approximately: “I see a red leaf.”

This new book will not only help teachers support students in all stages of writing development, from representational drawing to conventional writing, it will also help teachers imagine and run the various kinds of small group that are essential at the start of kindergarten. Woven throughout the unit is a strong emphasis on oral language rehearsal. The TCRWP team draws from the truth of Marie Clay’s wise words: “If you can’t speak it, you can’t read it, you can’t write it.”

This unit is designed to strengthen students’ phonological and phonemic awareness by helping kids say words slowly, stretching them out in order to identify component sounds. It will also help youngsters transfer their word study and sight word practice into on-the-fly work with sentences and stories in the writing workshop. That is, the unit is designed to set students up to be ready for the print strategy work they’ll encounter in the reading unit, Super Powers. Early in the year, kindergarteners’ writing abilities surpass their reading abilities. What better way to support the work of noticing letters and sounds, one to one match and using the pattern, than with students’ own writing?

Looking Closely Like Scientists will serve as a bridge between the existing Units of Study books, Launching the Writing Workshop and Writing for Readers. It can also serve as a stand alone unit that you use to tip your toe into writing workshop. You’ll see the energy and enthusiasm that comes from exposing your students to authentic, child-friendly writing experiences.

Here’s what the unit’s coauthors have to say about the project:

“I am thrilled to be developing Looking Closely into a Units of Study book. The energy and excitement students have when doing the work of this unit is a joy to see.” - Marie Mounteer

“Early kindergarten is a crucial time for fostering students’ love of writing! My hope is that this book will set clear plans for the wide range of young writers in our classrooms. I look forward to helping teachers grow student writing, stamina, engagement, and knowledge of letters/sounds and words in fun and playful ways.” -Allyse Bader

Looking Closely is a quintessentially kindergarten unit. I’m excited to develop it as a full-fledged Units of Study book that supports teachers and students in the joyful and transformative work of early kindergarten writing. - Lizzie Hetzer