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Lesson Plan

Beyond History Books: Researching With Twin Texts and Technology

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Beyond History Books: Researching With Twin Texts and Technology

Grades 4 – 8
Estimated Time Ten 30- to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lotta C. Larson, Ph.D.

Lotta C. Larson, Ph.D.

Manhattan, Kansas


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Pairing fiction and nonfiction books on one topic (twin texts) has been shown to build background knowledge, boost comprehension, and increase motivation. Informative and interactive websites further enrich such literacy experiences. In this lesson, students explore a historic event in depth by reading fiction and nonfiction literature. Then, to enhance and extend the reading experience, students participate in website exploration and virtual field trips. Throughout the process, students gather facts and relevant information, which they later organize and present to the class. This lesson is easily adaptable to accommodate a wide range of historic events, instructional objectives, and grade levels.

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Twin Texts and Technology Topics: This printout offers suggestions for fiction and nonfiction books and relevant websites relating to four different topics (the American Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust/World War II, the Irish Potato Famine, and the history of inventions).

K-W-L Creator: Create savable K-W-L Charts for whole-class knowledge collection.

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Castek, J., Bevans-Mangelson, J., & Goldstone, B. (2006). Reading adventures online: Five ways to introduce the new literacies of the Internet through children’s literature. The Reading Teacher, 59(7), 714–728.

  • Through participation in Internet activities, students engage in critical thinking and acquire new skills and strategies needed to take advantage of today’s information and communication technologies (ICTs).

  • When teachers use the Internet in their classrooms for teaching and learning, they extend opportunities for developing new literacy skills.


Labbo, L.D. (2005). Books and computer response activities that support literacy development. The Reading Teacher, 59(3), 288–292.

  • Linking story time to computer time can motivate children to learn more about literacy by drawing attention to big ideas, new vocabulary, thematic connections, and innovations in text.

  • The Internet provides students opportunities to build background knowledge, gather information, gain knowledge, and exchange ideas.


Soalt, J. (2005). Bringing together fictional and informational texts to improve comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 58(7), 680–683.

  • The use of both fiction and nonfiction texts can activate background knowledge, build vocabulary in authentic contexts, and motivate students to think deeply.

  • Incorporating multiple texts on the same topic helps students become sophisticated readers who make connections between diverse texts and gain knowledge from a variety of genres.

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