05 Jan Text Sets – To Buy or Not to Buy?
CCSS, like any new initiative, is causing a marketing boom. One area of marketing focus is text sets. Many publishers are now creating text sets that can be purchased by theme, author or genre. Purchasing text sets is certainly one way to go, but some students we met had a plan of their own….
We had been studying a text set of David Shannon’s No David! books with a group of second graders. We were discussing the possible themes, the author’s style and how the author uses point view in these texts. During independent reading one day, Jolena tapped Clare on the shoulder. Clare gave her the “do not interrupt signal” and went back to her conference. She tapped again – a bit harder. “But this is really important – I think I made a set.” Clare avoided eye contact and continued with her conference while watching Jolena get an index card, tape, and marker. Jolena wrote something on the card and then proceeded to empty out a basket of books in the library. She carefully placed those books on the floor and filled the basket with all the No David! books and Knuffle Bunny. She taped the card to the basket and went back to independent reading. During the group share, I took the opportunity to ask Jolena about “the set” she wanted to share. “Well, I decided to start a new set. I read Knuffle Bunny today and I decided it has the same theme as the No David! books so I put the set together. Look, I put the books in a basket and labeled the theme – Parents Lose It. All the books in this basket will be about when a parent loses it but still loves the kid in the end.”
Over the next few weeks many readers added books to this basket. Here are some of the titles the students put in this text set:
- No, David! David Shannon
- David Goes to School, David Shannon
- David Gets in Trouble, David Shannon
- Knuffle Bunny, Mo Willems
- When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry, Molly Bang
- The Boss Baby, Marla Frazee
- Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild!, Marla Frazee
- No Nap, Eve Bunting
- Good Night Monkey Boy! J. Krosoczka
These students designed their own curriculum! As they created these text sets they were constructing a deeper understanding of theme and debating which texts fit the criteria of the set. We observed students referencing the text, citing evidence to support their thinking and listening to multiple points of view. The discussion of theme they were having was meaningful and purposeful to the students so they were highly engaged in the process of learning. What better assessment of our students’ understanding of theme is there than them constructing their own text-sets? This experience is causing us to pause and think about ways to involve our students in the process of organizing our books and use what could be viewed as “the next jargon coming down the pike” as a wonderful learning experience with our students.