TCRWP is thrilled to announce the publication of two new Middle School Reading Units of Study books!

TCRWP is thrilled to announce the publication of two additional books in the Middle School Reading Units of Study Series. Investigating Characterization: Author-Study Book Clubs and Literary Nonfiction are available for purchase and shipping as of September 2018. These units, though not grade-specific, invite older middle schoolers into higher level interpretive work, and are likely more appropriate for seventh and eighth graders. For more in-depth introductions, stay tuned for videos that will be posted in the Resources section of our website, under Videos to Support Units of Study Implementation.

Investigating Characterization invites readers to consider characters both as complex people on the page and as literary constructions. The first bend takes on the work of analyzing perspective, as students read short stories from a variety of authors. The recommended source for these stories is the fantastic collection Flying Lessons, a #WeNeedDiverseBooks project edited by Ellen Oh. A compelling read aloud from Matt de la Peña serves as the anchor text, leading to lessons that focus on considering how details illuminate characters’ perspectives and how the narrator’s point of view affects a story. In the next two bends, readers form clubs around an author, choosing from among the authors of the stories from Bend One. On-Benchmark and Below-Benchmark bookshelves are available for purchase from Heinemann, with club sets of titles from the recommended authors. The collaborative work of the clubs across the final two bends is to study an author’s craft, which is made possible and interesting by reading across multiple works. A final celebration features students giving “author talks” to showcase what they’ve learned about the authors they’ve followed.

The goal of Literary Nonfiction is to enthrall readers with the fast-growing world of well-crafted book-length nonfiction for young adults, and with digital nonfiction texts that are quickly becoming a favorite way to learn. Across the first two bends of the unit, readers will read several nonfiction books in partnerships. In the final bend, they will organize into interest-based clubs to study an issue or topic more in-depth by listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, and reading multimedia articles. We recommend stocking your libraries with double copies of a range of fascinating nonfiction. Heinemann’s Classroom Libraries offers On-Benchmark and Below-Benchmark starter sets to help with this. The anchor read alouds are excerpts from the Young Readers Edition of Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. This unit offers readers strategies for dealing with the complexity of high-level nonfiction, including considering themes, social issues, and central ideas all at once; synthesizing across seemingly very different sections; considering perspectives that are and aren’t prioritized and reading through the lens of social scientists to get new ideas. A final project asks readers to create a text recommendation in any format to add to the classroom library.