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Lesson Plan

An Exploration of Text Sets: Supporting All Readers

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An Exploration of Text Sets: Supporting All Readers

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Egawa

Kathy Egawa

Seattle, Washington


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students create text sets and use them to practice three strategies for reading for information. Students select a topic they want to explore and work in small groups to compile a set of texts related to their topic. Each group discusses their topic, jotting notes and images on a large piece of paper as they talk. They then explore the texts they have gathered, adding more information to the paper to create a "graffiti board" focusing on their topic. Next, students generate a list of key words they think that they'll find if a text contains specific information that they're looking for. After the teacher models skimming text for key words, students use the strategy on their own text sets. Finally, students are given sustained reading time, followed by writing time without the text, allowing them to put the information they have learned into their own words.

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Creating Text Sets for Your Classroom: This resource describes text sets and offers information about how to compile and display them.

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Experienced readers are active in their pursuit of resources to support their learning. Text sets-collections of resources from different genre, media, and levels of reading difficulty-are more supportive of learners with a range of experiences and interests than any single text. They are particularly supportive of less-experienced readers, as NCTE leader, Laura Robb, notes in her Voices from the Middle article, "Multiple Texts: Multiple Opportunities for Teaching and Learning."

Richard Allington points out that "Schools have typically exacerbated the problem by relying on a single-source curriculum design-purchasing multiple copies of the same science and social studies textbooks for every student." He also notes that "many classrooms use textbooks written two or more years above the average grade level of their students (Chall & Conard, 1991; Budiansky, 2001)."  Text sets, the focus of this lesson, is one way to address this issue. Linda Crafton is the original author of the "text set" strategy, although many resourceful educators have invented versions of it.

Further Reading

Allington, Richard. "You Can't Learn Much from Books You Can't Read." Educational Leadership 60.3 (November 2002): 16-19.


Robb, Laura. "Multiple Texts: Multiple Opportunities for Teaching and Learning." Voices From the Middle 9.4 (May 2002): 28-32.

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