Selecting Companion Texts for a Text Set
You cannot have a text set to build your students’ knowledge about the world unless you have multiple books and media resources. The next step in creating a text set is the one that most excites me! On previous posts we have covered defining a text set, how to select an anchor text, using the standards to guide your planning, and selecting a theme or topic. Now we are ready to pick out companion books, poems, music, and other media resources.
With your anchor text and theme already in place, the heavy lifting of building out your text set has already been completed. Now you need to consider what additional texts will build upon your topic and foster complete understanding for your students. You will be able to compare and contrast texts in the unit and have students conduct some great writing analysis if they have powerful supporting texts. Be creative and think about incorporating a few video clips, songs, or various genres of shorter text into your set. Typically, these supporting choices will not be texts that you are conducting multiple close reads with like you may be doing with your anchor text.
Some of these supporting texts may be ones students will read independently. Visualize sprinkling in books or passages that build upon the theme or topic. Sometimes you will be conducting an author study, but for the basis of most text sets I would be sure to use a variety of authors. Aim for gathering about 10 additional resources for your knowledge building unit. This number can fluctuate or decrease depending on the length of time you have allocated. Always preview your media and actually read the texts! Never judge a book by its cover.
Remember if you don’t want to do all that thinking and planning of books for a text set on your own, there are online resources readily available to get you started. I recommend at least looking at some of the sites to get ideas about how others have compiled their media to give you some starting guidance. You can find these sources on Tenspire’s first post about text set building. Remember, if you use some additional books/resources this year that you ended up not being a fan of or you find some great texts before you implement the unit again- you can always adapt and change your picks. It’s your unit, after all. Have fun building out your text set!