Anchor’s Away

March 4, 2017

Selecting Your Anchor Text in a Text Set

On previous posts, we have introduced text sets and stated the facts about getting started with standards and/or the texts you will use during your unit. Now it is time to begin to sail away in regards to creating your very own text set. It is time to pick out your anchor text!

What is an anchor text?

An anchor text is the book, chapter, passage, story, or article that the entire unit you are creating will revolve around. Needless to say, it needs to be a strong text when standing alone. The anchor text may have detailed characters, an overarching message, or facts that will help tie the entire unit together. Traditionally the anchor text will be read multiple times in a close read format. This text needs to be worthy of reading multiple times. If the text itself is on-level for students, does it have a difficult theme that might need several reads to parse out? If the plot and information are straightforward, are there multiple tricky vocabulary words that students will need to learn and infer throughout the story? There should be some type of qualitative and quantitative balancing effort when selecting an anchor text. Below are some additional tips for finding that perfect fit anchor text from the Louisiana Believes text set project. Best of luck until next time!

  1. Consider what students need to be ready for life after K-12 to determine what they should learn in grades K-12.
  • Learn about universal themes, other cultures, and perspectives
  • Read common texts, authors, and genres, such as myths or Shakespeare
  • Learn about historical events and time periods, popular science, music, and art
  1. Determine the unit focus for several units in each grade and develop a progression of content across grade levels.
  • Explore a concept or theme
  • Understand different perspectives about an idea or event
  • Learn more in depth about a topic from science, social studies, or the arts
  • Explore a writing style or format, such as an author study or genre study (i.e., mysteries, memoirs)
  1. Select an anchor text for each unit focus and that meets many of the following criteria:
  • Students will be interested in the text or it allows for them to build reading stamina and perseverance.
  • The content of the text is age-appropriate.
  • The text is written by a published author and/or is high quality and contains accurate information.
  • The text is appropriately complex for the intended grade level.
  • The text is available for classroom use (e.g., is found in a textbook anthology or online or can be purchased).
  • Sets seek to maintain a balance of literary and informational texts across the year.

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