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Up the Ladder

Reading and Writing Units of Study

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 TCRWP staff spent a long time studying how to successfully accelerate children’s growth in reading and writing. They analyzed 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.

Series Components

Up the Ladder Units

Writing Units: Narrative, Information, Opinion
Reading Units: Fiction, Nonfiction

A Guide to the Up the Ladder Units
A Guide to the Up the Ladder Units

The Guide orients teachers to the Up the Ladder writing units, providing guidance on the essential principles, methods, and structures of effective writing workshop instruction. Note: available for the Up the Ladder writing units only.

Anchor Chart Sticky Notes
Anchor Chart Sticky Notes

The teaching points for each day’s instruction are illustrated on large-format sticky notes to help teachers create and evolve anchor charts across the units.

Mentor Texts
Trade Book Packs

The Up the Ladder Reading units come with trade books designed for teachers to use as demonstration texts, modeling skills and strategies taught in the units. Note: available for the Up the Ladder reading units only.

Online Resources
Online Resources & Demonstration Videos

The Online Resources include downloadable anchor charts, paper-choice templates, student checklists, Spanish translations of select resources, and more. QR codes at point-of-use link to videos featuring TCRWP Staff Developers modeling instruction.

Watch a minilesson demo video

Virtual Units of Study
Virtual Teaching Resources
(Available for Separate Purchase)

These resources offer teacher, student, and family/caregiver videos. In the student-facing videos, TCRWP staff developers teach each minilessons on camera as "co-teachers," freeing classroom teachers up for live conversations, small group work, and more.

Watch a sample student minilesson video

Who should choose the Up the Ladder Units?

Note that Up the Ladder units are not meant to be an alternative to the core Units of Study, but rather a ramp to accelerate kids to the grade-level work they will do in those units.

Grade Level Ranges

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note: the following videos refer to the Up the Ladder writing units. FAQs for the Up the Ladder reading units are coming soon.


Overview of the Units

Planning Instruction

Assessment for Learning

Support for Teachers

Purchasing Options

Writing Units

Reading Units

Related Resources

For more information about the Units of Study in Reading and Writing and to see additional purchasing options, see the K-5 Writing Units, the K-5 Reading Units, the Middle School Writing Units, and the Middle School Reading Units webpages.