Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Complete 4 For Literacy by Pam Allyn

I heard Pam Allyn, author of THE COMPLETE 4 FOR LITERACY, speak at the Connecticut Reading Association Convention last week. I have been spending the last few days with the new book and am loving it.

Now, I am not usually a fan of things with names or numbers attached. My inferring skills have told me that many of these have been far too prescriptive, contrived, and scripted for me.

But, the Complete 4 is none of these! It is AMAZING.

Pam Allyn has created a framework to help teachers plan literacy in a way that keeps the decision making on the teacher. She respects our knowledge and does not intend to tell us how to teach. However, the framework she provides is brilliant. She has thoughts about yearlong planning so that all areas of literacy are covered over the course of the year. She spends time talking about the importance of the whole school, K-5 conversation so that students' learning builds. She shares goals for various units and how the goals would be different in a K-2 nonfiction unit than a 3-5 nonfiction unit. She shares sample yearlong plans with explanations about the things she's included. She includes ways to teach conventions in authentic ways in both major and minor units.

This is really better than any planing guide I have ever seen. It is really a tool to help teachers THINK in powerful ways about their daily and long-term planning.

I have a habit of becoming TOTALLY obsessed with a professional book every year or two. This is the book I am currently totally obsessed with. Such amazing ideas and they seem like things that teachers at all experience levels would find helpful. I have rethought my planning already and I can't wait to share it with teachers that I work with.

On a side note, check out Pam Allyn's website. She founded a Books for Boys program in NYC that is pretty amazing.


  1. I am not a fan of worksheet type of materials for teachers that dictate instead of allow creativity. After browsing this book, it really does the opposite. It does allow for teachers to think and plan independently as well as set goals across grade levels. I likey too!

  2. Anonymous3:57 AM

    This is the second year our school is using the Complete 4 to structure our reading workshop to compliment our Lucy Calkins writing workshop. Last year was fantastic both in terms of implementation from a teaching standpoint and in terms of the impact it had on student learning. This is a fantastic resource and I hope that other schools are given the opportunity to use it.


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