A Basic Overview: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

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The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), a research based methodology for literacy education, is a product of the Teachers College at Columbia University.  The TCRWP was founded by Lucy Calkins, an oft-published author and  the Richard Robinson Professor of Children’s Literature at Columbia University, the 2012 #5 ranked university for education (USNews).  The TCRWP is an international collaboration project designed to “[develop] ideas that are foundational to literacy instruction across the globe” and its mission, as outlined on the TCRWP website, is to “enable young people to become avid readers, writers and inquirers,” through research, collaboration and curriculum development (TCRWP website, accessed 9/29/12).

The TCRWC Website

The TCRWC website, though somewhat complex to navigate, abounds with resources, including exemplars from its research base, Response to Intervention (RtI) guides for schools developing curriculum, assessment materials for different aspects of the Language Arts curriculum, text sets, models of classroom charts, and even has a job board for aspiring and experienced educators.

Issues Surrounding The Project

As TCRWP has grown as a popular resource for literacy and curriculum development, it has acquired its share of detractors as well.  Lucy Calkins, the founder and revered head of the program, is a known constructivist with a penchant for focusing on  reading and writing processes rather than on issues of content or phonics.  For some, this smacks of the now disreputable “whole-language” approach, which largely eradicated explicit phonics instruction from many language arts curricula in the United States through much of last two decades of the twentieth century.  Though TCRWP is considered by many to be a balanced approach, some hold that the balanced still leans in favor of “whole-language” and lacks a crucial content component.  For a more robust review of Lucy Calkins and detractors of the TCRWP, read this EducationNext article by Barbara Feinberg: The Lucy Calkins Project: Parsing a self-proclaimed literacy guru.

Questions for Parents and Educators

Does your school use the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in their curriculum?  What have your experiences been?

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