Creating Themes, Units & Lessons Targeting Literacy Skills

Creating Themes, Units & Lessons Targeting Literacy Skills
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  • 0:01 Developing Literacy Curriculum
  • 0:49 Theme & Unit Goals
  • 1:47 Assessment Methods & Lessons
  • 3:10 Reaching All Learners
  • 3:56 Reflecting on the Unit
  • 4:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rita Kerrigan

Rita has taught elementary and middle school and has a master's degree in reading education.

Literacy teachers are often unable to locate an existing curriculum for the skills they are teaching the students. In this lesson, learn how they thoughtfully develop their own themes, units, and lessons that target the desired literacy skills.

Developing Literacy Curriculum

Locating effective and appropriate literacy curriculum can be a very challenging task for a teacher. Many units of study are provided for teachers in textbooks or from education resources such as professional conferences and idea sharing with colleagues. Furthermore, the Internet is a great resource that is full of themes, units, and lessons that are readily available to teachers for free or purchase. However, teachers will often find that they are not able to find a unit or lesson that fits the educational targets they are trying to reach, and thus they must create their own curriculum materials. There are many steps involved in the process of creating themes, units, and lessons that target literacy skills, and when these steps are followed, the teacher will end up with a meaningful unit that is useful to every student in the classroom.

Theme and Unit Goals

The first step in creating a literacy unit is to select the theme. This selection may be based on holidays throughout the year, science and social studies content areas that are being studied in the classroom, or simply interesting, motivating topics that will captivate the students. It may also be centered around a genre or author and can include various books of that genre or written by the author of choice. The important thing to remember is that the theme should be age-appropriate and appeal to students of all genders and cultures.

After the teacher selects the theme, the goals of the unit should be developed:

  • What should the students learn from this unit of study?
  • How should their learning take place?
  • What skills should be taught while the students are exploring the theme?

These are some of the questions that the teacher should ask him or herself to create objectives for the unit. It is vital to determine these goals in the beginning of the unit because that will help the teacher stay directed while developing the remainder of the lessons and unit structure.

Assessment Methods and Lessons

After the theme is chosen and the goals are set, the teacher should determine what assessment methods will be used to evaluate how well the goals of the unit are met. The assessments should consist of a variety of evaluation procedures such as traditional tests, teacher observations, and projects. It is often helpful to give the students a pre-assessment before the unit begins to determine their background knowledge on the topic. Background knowledge is information that has been previously learned by the students through their life experiences and prior learning. The teacher can use the pre-assessment to determine what information the students already have, and can use this information to plan accordingly so they are being taught information that is new yet within their context of understanding.

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