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Units of Study in Writing, Grades 3-5

Brand new units now available for the 2024-2025 school year!

The new Units of Study in Writing, Grades 3-5 complement the updated K-2 units for a full K-5 trajectory of state-of-the-art instruction in writing. The units are easier than ever to use, more-research based, and are fully-updated for today's classroom. For the first time, they include a sequential standards-based curriculum in grammar, opportunities to tap the power of digital technologies, more discipline-based writing, and a compendium of tools to support responsive small group instruction.

"Students have become much more confident in their abilities as writers. In fact, they now see themselves as authors, not just students of writing."
-- 3rd Grade Pilot Teacher

New units are now available!

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Series Components

Four Units of Study for Each Grade Level

Each of the four units offers a sequenced set of daily sessions that invite students along a path of writing development in one of four genres: narrative, information, argument, and literary essay writing.

Units of Study in Writing Trade Book Packs

This bundle includes grade-level appropriate books that teachers use as demonstration texts to model the skills and strategies they want students to try

Anchor Chart Sticky Notes

The Anchor Chart Sticky Notes feature each day's teaching point to help teachers create and evolve anchor charts across the units.

Digital Experience

Included in every Digital Teacher License for Grades 3–5 is access to a brand-new digital writing experience in the Heinemann Flight platform. Generative AI-suggested feedback uniquely tuned to the instruction and voice of Units of Study makes this the most powerful version of our Writing units ever.

A Guide to the Writing Workshop, 3–5

This guide serves as an overview of the essentials of a writing workshop, describes the four core writing genres included in the series, helps you with all-important methods, introduces practical management tips, and guides you to lead your writing workshop.

Supporting All Writers: High-Leverage Small Groups and Conferences, 3–5

This book supplements the units, providing teachers with easy access to ready-to-teach small groups and conferences around major writing goals. It includes work times that especially support children who are either below or above benchmarks, ensuring that all children progress along a trajectory of development.

Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, 3–5

This contains the assessment system for the Units of Study in Writing, 3–5. In it, you'll find a chapter that provides an overview of writing assessment, plus progressions, checklists, exemplar texts, and annotated pieces of writing, at each level for all four genres.

Grammar and Spelling Conventions

This resource contains grade-specific grammar lessons that are designed to integrate closely with the units. The grammar instruction is sequenced so students can apply the lessons to their ongoing writing. Spelling minilessons that can be woven into the teaching of each writing unit as needed are also included.

Spelling Modules: Essential Building Blocks, 3-5

This resource contains carefully sequenced modules for students who need more targeted support in phonics and spelling. We draw on the latest research on the science of reading, supporting students in the foundational skills needed to be strong writers

Out of the Box Units
Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels: Writing in Pictures and Words helps students become visual storytellers as they grow and develop at reading and writing stories in multiple media. The ability to plan, draft, and revise a story in frames and panels advances children's comprehension of narrative structures as well as graphic novel comprehension.

Digital Overview

The NEW Units of Study in Grades 3–5 are on the Heinemann Flight platform, provide a deeper digital experience for teachers, and—for the first time—a digital experience where students can submit writing. Teachers can use AI-suggested comments, informed by Units of Study instruction, to provide each student with customized feedback. The feature also helps teachers more easily see patterns in students’ writing and identify areas of support. The Digital Teacher License also provides digital access to all the printed books in the core units of study set, along with a rich array of resources to support each unit. These resources include downloadable versions of charts, handouts, book lists, exemplar texts, supports for Spanish-speaking students, and more, all arranged session by session to streamline each day’s preparation. 

More About the Units

Hundreds of teachers piloted the new units, and we have heard, “the new units are worlds easier to teach,” and the clear, clean layout makes them easy to navigate. Some key features:


The Units of Study in Writing, Grades 3 includes:

Unit 1, The Art of Information Writing, teaches students a particular template for strong information writing. You will get kids into the swing of thinking of a topic, imagining the different things they know about that topic, and writing about those different things on different pages. In Unit 2, Changing the World, students will not only learn to write argument texts but also realize that they are changemakers, channeling their passions and ideas into writing that aims to better the world. In Unit 3, Structuring Episodes: Writing Series Fiction, students will learn to develop short, realistic-fiction stories, which supports their comprehension of all stories and helps them to understand one way stories go. In Unit 4, An Introduction to Literary Essays, kids will write a variety of stories about characters’ feelings and traits which help them learn to write clear, structured essays that center around an idea, or claim, and are supported by text evidence.


The Units of Study in Writing, Grade 4 includes:

Unit 1, Spinning True Stories into Gold, serves three purposes: to launch the fourth-grade writing workshop, to introduce students to the art of keeping writers’ notebooks, and to reinforce and extend students’ understanding of the essentials of narrative writing. Unit 2, Boxes and Bullets: Writing Essays and Arguments, is an introduction to academic essay writing and includes entirely new minilessons to support the all-important work of writing to learn. Unit 3, Literary Essay: Writing About Fiction, strengthens not only students’ writing, but also their reading. It gives young writers access to the skill of writing quick, well-structured essays about texts and includes lots of scaffolding, repetitive practice, and clear, straightforward tips. Discipline-Based Writing, Unit 4, aims to deepen students’ skills with both independent and collaborative research, and to help them write compelling nonfiction.


The Units of Study in Writing, Grades 5 includes:

Unit 1, Turning Life into Literature, introduces students to personalized writing toolkits which include versions of narrative checklists, copies of charts, exemplar texts, and other resources which will help them as they learn about personal narrative writing and writing about the things that matter most to them. In Unit 2, Literary Essay: Opening Texts and Seeing More, students read to comprehend, interpret, and analyze texts, and then take that work onto the page by crafting an essay that clearly conveys those arguments and ideas. In Unit 3, Research-Based Argument, students will build on and practice their ability to structure their writing so that it includes claims that are supported by reasons that are backed by evidence that they gather from sources. Unit 4, Journalism: Researching and Writing Articles, strengthens students’ information writing skills, rallying them to live as reporters, noticing article ideas all around them, conducting interviews, making observations, and writing news articles.

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Download the Units of Study in Writing, Grades 3–5 Overview Brochure

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