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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Text sets: One theme, several books

January 19, 2012

Teachers often have a specific theme or content they want to cover, but have a wide range of reading levels in their classroom. One way to handle that situation is to have many books on that one theme, but the books are written at different reading levels. These are often called text sets. I wrote here about a text set on persistence. ReadWriteThink has some good guidelines for creating text sets.

Lit for Kids calls text sets Book Flights, and they've gathered book flights for various topics, including Ancient Egypt, Cinderella, the beach, teachers, and more. Book Flights include read aloud suggestions, and books that range from toddler/early reader levels to tweens to young adult. Lit for Kids has also created also book pairings, where one they recommend one adult book and one kid book about the same topic, or by the same author.

Booklist Online offers something similar, although with less of a range of reading levels. They call them read-alikes, and offer one theme with a range of books on that theme. The Green Thumbs one might be fun for spring, or in this election year maybe your students would enjoy Pint-Size Presidents. (You'll have to search the site to find the actual lists.)

Do you use any other resources for developing your text sets? If so, please let me know!


As a librarian, creating text sets or book flights is a big part of what I do...interesting that there is a specific name for it, and I just thought I was differentiating for the variety of learning styles within a classroom/grade level!

Text sets also may include non linguistics in order to teach as well. Not just books but a whole plethora of resources used to teach to a specific theme or unit!

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges