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Study Group: Integrating Close Reading and Complex Texts Into a Curriculum that Prioritizes Kids Reading Just-Right Books

Aug 21 - Aug 22
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Dobbs Ferry, New York

Grades: 3-8

Led by: Katie Even and Kara Arnold

Hosted in: Dobbs Ferry, New York

Dates: Wednesday, August 21, 2024 - Thursday, August 22, 2024

One tension many of us have experienced year after year is how to bring close reading and complex texts into our reading workshops. We wonder how to encourage kids to transfer a whole-class close reading experience to their independent reading – and when that even makes sense as a goal! We wonder how frequently this kind of close work should happen. We wonder how to balance the time spent on one type of reading versus another. We wonder what benefits kids will glean from studying small passages closely–and how to make sure they actually reap those benefits!

There’s no one answer to these questions, of course. But in this group we can explore them together. We’ll study existing research together. We’ll try out close reading practices ourselves, including studying the syntax and grammar of individual sentences, and reflect on what we’re learning and what we can bring to our classrooms. And we’ll try things, each in our separate classrooms, and bring our results back to the group to interpret together.

This group will range across a few big topics, like fluency and grammar and independent reading and close text analysis. Our hope is that by bringing together research around these complicated, interrelated topics, and a group of smart, thoughtful teachers, we can resolve some of the tensions that we all experience when we try to ensure that our reading work is balanced. 

This group will start with a two day in-person retreat in Dobbs Ferry on Wednesday, August 21 and  Thursday, August 22, 2024. There are lots of ways to stay on the premises.  Together, we will dig deep into the existing research, share our current practices and brainstorm our most out-of-the-box ideas. We’ll also meet online, checking in for roughly 4 virtual sessions across the semester, at times that work for the group. We’ll have a second in-person retreat later in the semester, perhaps in late November, visiting a school together to try strategies with kids and colleagues.

About All 2024-2025 Study Groups and Retreats:

The educational world has been changing in important ways, and we all need to consolidate and intensify our learning. In 2024-2025, you are invited to join The Reading & Writing Project in study groups designed to grow the knowledge base of us all. 

It is important that each of these study groups become close-knit communities. So, we’ll launch most of the groups with a two-day retreat. (The school leader group is a bit different, see that write-up for more information) The East and West Coast study groups will meet in one of our homes and will involve cooking together, backyard barbecues, and more. The RWP can provide lodging for some participants at no cost, and other participants will no doubt be local and able to commute (plan on evenings and breakfasts together!) To learn more about possibilities for lodging, write These study groups will be free, although you’ll need to finance travel and, if necessary, lodging. 

To apply, please complete this form and include a one-page letter which includes:

  • A brief overview of your experience 

  • Your history and experience working with Units of Study and/or RWP. 

  • Might you be able to lead your own, more local study group, learning from kids and colleagues in classrooms other than your own, bringing that broader range of data and thinking to the study group?

  • To what extent are you able/willing to commit to participating/attending the group 

You can use the same letter to apply to multiple study groups. We will prioritize accepting educators who partner with The Reading & Writing Project in year-long Staff Development, but everyone is encouraged to apply to join this adventure.  We want to learn with all sorts of schools, all sorts of places. We will communicate your application status by early June.