Do you have kiddos that seem to have a hard time remembering content? Or maybe your text book is just not accessible to your student due to the reading level? Well, one option you might consider using are text sets. Text sets are collections of books by topic that can be used to support teaching in the content areas. Today, I thought I'd share teaching strategies that work well with materials that you likely have within your buildings right now.
PUTTING TEXT SETS TOGETHER
One great place to start with building text sets is with the leveled library in your school. Books can be used for multiple purposes, and the great thing about leveled libraries is that you know whether they will match your kids' needs. Our school has Benchmark Learning Systems which is heavily nonfiction. Our teachers really like the content that's included within the books, and at this point, they pull them for use during guided reading. I'd propose one other use, and that is to pull them in during your science and social studies blocks for use with teaching the content.
ENLIST HELP FROM YOUR LIBRARIAN:
Another option for text sets is to pull varied titles together by theme or topic for your units. Your school librarian can be a great help in finding titles in your library, but you might also speak with your reading specialist or coach. They are great resources for helping you find titles that match the content you may be teaching.
Finally, I'd recommend you organize your classroom library nonfiction by topic to add to your units. I've found doing that really makes it easy to incorporate them as mentor texts or with other activities if I already have them in one place. You can find classroom library books at thrift shops, through Scholastic or Reading Warehouse (Bargain Bin), or yard sales for under $1.00 per book.
WAYS TO USE TEXT SETS
CONVERSATION BUILDERSWhen you rely just on your text book, you're getting one perspective on a topic. Sometimes, you'll find new teaching points or points of view which broadens the unit. Kids learn through discussion, so comparing and contrasting can help cement your points.
THEMATIC TEACHINGAnother great point with incorporating text sets is the ability to teach in themes. We know from years of practice that teaching with a thematic approach leads to repetition and extensions such as Project Based Learning and writing options such as RAFT papers and themed prompts.
INQUIRY BASED LEARNINGSome teachers use text sets to introduce a unit. Students can explore the sets and generate their "wonderings" which are answered through direct instruction, experimentation, or research as the unit unfolds. Text sets can be revisited as part of the researching process or used as mentor texts for other lessons.
BOOK TITLES BY THEME OR TOPIC
Below is a Pinterest board I've created of book collections by theme or topic. Feel free to pin these to your own. I have done Thematic Thursay posts for about two years, so you might also check out my boards for units you may be teaching.❶ Text sets provide multiple opportunities to explore a given topic. Different perspectives means that students may be exposed to more content then textbooks alone.
❷ Text sets give learners with differing reading skills, learning styles, and/or interests another way to access the information they need to learn.
➌ Some schools are limited on their resources, so text sets can enrich the curriculum without great expense. Remember...the public library is ALWAYS free, and teachers LOVE free.
➍ Our school has had a BIG PUSH toward small group instruction, and text sets work well into this teaching style. You can use the sets just like you would for literature circles OR in a jigsaw approach where kids research and report back to the group.
➎ Text sets help students develop reading for a purpose. Students learn to use text features to find the information needed and to dig deeper.
➏ Finally, one thing we teach our kids to do is to connect new learning to previously learned content. We build schema through deeper exposure.