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Teaching With Text Sets

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 students’ understanding, and sharpening their critical analysis skills. Taking a text set approach for your English literature or content area classes may be the solution you have been looking for. 

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

Why Use a Text Set?

A text set utilizes a collection of texts and other materials on a particular topic or theme that allows students to access the same curricula from varying perspectives while building a shared understanding. 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.  

Four boys placing their hands on one who is visibly upset.

Curriculum & Instruction

Text Set: Compassion

Compassion is often described as a virtue, but to many tweens and teens, moralistic goals seem lofty and unattainable. By tuning into and building off of students’ empathy, we offer a pathway to developing compassionate teens and better humans. That seems like a goal we can all aspire to!

Group of five teens making silly faces and smiling into the camera

Curriculum & Instruction

Text Set: Friendship

Friendships can change quickly in tween and teen years and are often defining relationships in adolescence. It’s not surprising then that friendship has been an enduring and popular topic in Middle Grade and Young Adult literature. Let your students dive into the songs, texts, novels, and videos we have collected as they read and reflect on their evolving understanding of friendships.

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.

Women marching in 2017 in DC

Gender & Diversity Issues

Text Set: Women Rise Up!

Learn more about the Suffragettes of the late 19th and early 20th century and how the movement for the 19th Amendment was not the end to women’s fight for equality.

Additional Resources