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A diverse group of teenagers sitting at a library table discussing a text in front of them.

A Text Set Approach to Teaching Content

Competence may be the reason for engagement. But maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe engagement is the cause of competence. ~ J. Wilhelm and M. W. Smith


When teachers make the transition from textbook only classrooms to multi-text classrooms, the focus of study becomes concepts rather than the content of one particular book. Students gain both a broad perspective and an in-depth sense of the subject matter from reading many texts on the same topic. ~ Dr. Gail Ivey

One of the great quandaries of secondary instruction is how we give students more voice and choice in their learning while still covering standards, deepening their understanding, and sharpening their critical analysis skills. Taking a text set approach for your content area classes may be the solution you have been looking for. 

A text set utilizes a collection of texts and other materials that allows students to access the same standards-based curricula from varying reading levels and perspectives, while also building a shared understanding of a topic or theme. Typically students select from multiple texts then read, discuss, and confirm their thinking within book clubs or literature circles. Opportunities to share in a whole class setting are interspersed throughout the thematic or topical study as well as interactions with other materials within the text set to deepen students’ understanding. There is no one way to use a text set. Our hope is that you will explore the variety of texts and materials provided and choose those that will best engage your students in discussions and critical thinking.  

immigrant adults and children walking across land a landscape of the American flag.

Content-Area Literacy

Text Set: Immigration

We hope this text set fosters understanding, empathy, and a high level of engagement for your students as they explore the complexities of the immigrant experience through varying perspectives.

Person standing alone at the top of a mountain with the sun shining behind them.

Content-Area Literacy

Text Set: Unsung Heroes

Unsung heroes have fought injustice, advanced science, and transformed lives through kindness, courage, and ingenuity with little fanfare. They are the best of humanity.

Related Resources

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