Up the Ladder

The Up the Ladder books are designed for children in grades 3–6 who may not yet have had many opportunities to practice writing narrative, information, and opinion pieces, or might not have had those experiences in workshop-style classrooms. The units give these children opportunities to engage in repeated successful practice and to move rapidly along a gradually increasing progression of challenges.

The Up the Ladder Units:

  • give novice writers intense writing practice within a short timeframe
  • teach foundational primary-grade strategies through content, topics, and mentor texts that are appropriate for grades 3–6
  • include concise, accessible student checklists and guidelines for daily assessment
  • support teachers with an introduction to the workshop framework and writing process, tips and strategies for classroom management, and video demonstrations of the minilessons
  • engage young people in work that is demanding yet attainable
  • ensure that students make rapid and dramatic progress toward grade-level writing work.

While the Up the Ladder units are designed to be precursors to the grade-level Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, 3­­–6, they can be helpful in a variety of instructional settings.

Series Components

Three Up the Ladder Units (20–22 sessions in each)

  • Narrative
  • Information
  • Opinion

A Guide to the Up the Ladder Units orients you to the Up the Ladder books, providing guidance on the essential principles, methods, and structures of effective writing workshop instruction.

Online Resources

  • Downloadable charts, paper-choice templates, samples of student work, student checklists
  • Links to digital texts
  • QR code links at point-of-use within each minilesson with demonstration videos featuring TCRWP Staff Developers

Large-format preprinted Anchor-Chart Sticky Notes with illustrated teaching points help teachers create and evolve anchor charts across each unit.

Samples and Video

Series Overview Sample Sample Sessions Watch Video

Visit Units of Study Main Page

Main Page


Up the Ladder: Accessing Grades 3–6 Writing Units of Study