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Harding is a Teachers College Labsite School

A Fall Message From Lucy Calkins

Dear Colleagues,

Another school year is upon us. Welcome back and a quick note before we all go off for Labor Day weekend. You should be hearing from your staff developers shortly, if you haven’t already, to plan the upcoming year. I look forward to seeing you virtually on September 14.

I wanted to take this moment to also mark that yesterday, the NAEP released scores for 2022. In The New York Times’ reporting of the scores, they quote Janice K. Jackson, the former leader of Chicago Public Schools as saying: “No more of the arguments, and the back and forth and the vitriol and the finger pointing." I agree. This is a critical time to get things right for kids and not a time for distractions around false “reading war” narratives and misinformed and inaccurate reporting about the work that we do.

To that end, we’re taking this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions that have been circulating this summer. Our work in NYC schools continues at the same level as always and The Units of Study are in hundreds of New York City schools and beyond. As educators, we know our focus should be solely on helping all children read and write well. We know that it takes time, research, and a teacher’s educated skill to understand and know the students in front of us.

Our work gets results. The data show that our partner schools out-perform schools using other curricula. Through both the AIR study and through the 2019 NYC data report, it is clear that Units of Study makes a positive difference in reading skills for all schools that use it–including those with IEPs, schools with a high percentage of Multi-Lingual Learners and those schools with high poverty rates.

We are proud that our most recent revisions to the Reading Units of Study bring the best insights from the science of reading research into reading and writing workshop classrooms. We are all anxiously awaiting the release of the enhanced Units of Study. They will be in teachers’ hands this fall. Over the last two years, TCRWP has worked diligently to incorporate new comprehension research, new language research, research on knowledge generation, and more. We’re eager to collaborate with you and others to do right by kids.