Text Sets

Reading Playlists, Multimedia Text Sets

Text Sets is a reading and engagement strategy that motivates reading by building connections between texts (e.g. movies, books, music, nonfiction, and images), around a common theme, topic, or subject, inspired by a book students have read. Students or teacher create a bundle of related texts. Text Sets connect to students interests, deepen understanding of a text, and encourage higher level thinking skills as students make or find connections between texts and ideas. Text Sets motivate reluctant readers to read more and learn to search for new texts and also challenge students who love to read to engage on a deeper level and share their enthusiasm with others by investigating themes across disciplines and creating new Text Sets. A teacher can share an already completed Text Set with a student, begin building a Text Set during reading conferences, or assign Text Set creation to a student or whole class.

Implementation Tips

Modeling Text Sets
Use a teacher-created Text Set modeled around a popular book before asking students to create their own Text Sets. Introduce Text Sets early in the year to make them a classroom way of life, so that students are always thinking of connections and possible thematically linked texts while reading.
Igniting Student Interest
Observe student reading habits and interests when building teacher-created Text Sets. Ask students to complete reading interest surveys to gain an understanding about what students have read and enjoyed or even disliked. Hook reluctant readers or visual and auditory learners with thematically-related photos, artwork, sculpture, movies, or music.
Challenging Book Lovers
Introduce Text Sets to book lovers as a fun, creative strategy to dig deeply into themes and find new material and make connections between ideas and genres. Frame Text Sets as a way to reach out to others and recommend interesting books and multimedia resources to friends and classmates.
Motivating Reluctant Readers
Motivate reluctant readers by introducing Text Sets during Individual Reading Conferences. Instead of giving a student another book to read, suggest a film or song with a related theme. During the next conference, ask the student to create a Text Set and provide specific directions and some sample resources.
Interdisciplinary Text Sets
Create or ask students to create Text Sets across disciplines. For example, create a Text Set to accompany a history unit about Ancient Greece with Rick Riordan books, primary sources, artwork, and more. Text Sets can help students dive into reading not just in ELA, but across the disciplines.
Keeping Text Sets Relevant
Embed Text Sets in a larger unit of study by linking to themes and essential questions. Keep Text Sets relevant by linking them to nonfiction as well as fiction; assign students to build Text Sets related to current events news articles or videos and themes (like Strength through Adversity after hurricanes).
Appropriate and Varied Recommendations
Research movies, songs, websites, books, etc. recommended to students to ensure content is developmentally appropriate. Include a range of reading levels to appeal to all readers. Consider graphic novels, comic books, and art books or audiobooks and digital music for visual and auditory learners.
Collaborate with Community
Ask for recommended resources from the school media specialist, local librarians, art, music, or film teachers, and other multimedia experts. Send students to browse in the library with a specific goal/theme in mind. Motivate the class to create Text Sets to display at the school or local library.


Building a Text Set
A student read and enjoyed *The Fault in Our Stars* by John Green. The teacher suggests building a Text Set about star-crossed love and loss to develop a deeper thematic understanding and share enthusiasm. First, the student selects the film version of *The Fault in Our Stars*, the play *Romeo and Juliet* and the film by Baz Luhrmann. She chooses an interview with the John Green about how he wrote the book, a book by Lurlene McDaniel, and the novel *Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl*. The student finds a photo series and two songs to complete the Text Set.
Collaborate During Individual Reading Conferences
The whole class completes a reading interest survey. Before an Individual Reading Conference, the teacher reviews a student’s survey to engage student interests and plan to guide future reading. Teacher and student confer, discussing a book the student is reading. The teacher listens closely to assess for comprehension and gain insight into what motivates and interests the learner. For example, the student enjoyed *The Hunger Games,* so the teacher suggests they can create a Text Set bundle to share with classmates, including books, short stories, nonfiction, movies, and artwork with underdog themes or in the dystopian genre.
Connecting to Curriculum Across Disciplines
In ELA and History classes, the class has been analyzing texts and discussing themes of immigrant identity and purpose for immigration. The class decides to build a class Text Set together. Students search for books, movies, songs, photos, and primary sources relating to immigration and support their ideas with specific reasons their selections should be included. The teacher adds suggestions, too. Next, students choose unfamiliar items from the Text Set list to investigate throughout the unit. While they read, listen, or watch, students analyze and evaluate the relevance to the theme. Students make interdisciplinary connections as they investigate the theme.

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