File this post under, “You know you’re an Edu-geek when….” My enthusiasm is right up there with Navin Johnson’s declaration, “The new phonebooks are here! The new phonebooks are here!” Read on English Language Arts, Social Science, CTE and Science teachers, ye beholden to CCSS Literacy Standards!
Venisha Bahr, our District K-8 Library Coordinator (extraordinaire) shared an email today announcing a new service from Newsela: Text Set Collections and the ability to create your own text sets! First, simply a definition from their website: “A text set is a collection of articles that share a common theme, topic, or standard.” In addition, the text sets featured by Newsela and ones you create through their resources are all available at multiple reading levels, allowing for easy differentiation.
If you’re not already familiar with Newsela, I encourage you to check out their web-based service. There is a free version and a paid subscription Pro version. Text Sets are accessible and can be created in either version. In this era of Common Core and its assessments, text sets also allow for comparison/contrast and analysis of multiple sources based around one topic/theme.
I went through the process of developing my own text set; the simple process is described in a series of support articles in their Text Sets Toolkit:
Step 1: Create a Text Set Create a “folder” by topic, theme, or other category.
Step 2: Add articles Once you’ve created a Text Set folder, add articles by searching the archives for compatible titles:
- Open an article
- Click the “Add to” drop down menu
- Select the text set to which you wish to add the article
- OR Create a new text set in the drop down menu
Step 3: Share your Text Set(s) On the “My Text Sets” page, select a text set name and click “Make Visible” to share with colleagues/team members and others in the Newsela community via email, Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.
Yes, you can edit your text sets adding and deleting articles as you see fit. You can also assign text sets to your students if you choose to create a class. Our efforts to make school real for our students by explicitly teaching and providing opportunities for practicing literacy skills is paramount. Using text sets help model the research process where students dive into a topic, read multiple texts, and draw conclusions on an important topic. Good for you; good for them.