AL6. Using Text Sets – Part 1

Course Progress
A teacher talking to his class


When you use text sets to build background knowledge, you’ll see gains in students’ content knowledge, reading comprehension, and motivation; text sets quench that human craving to build expertise. Building text sets out of increasingly complex texts that are strategic and diverse and following through with methods for storing new information in long-term memory can help your students experience comprehension gains. The techniques described in this module integrate cognitive psychology, neurology, pedagogy, and sociology.

Time estimate: 1.5 – 2 hours

  • Using Text Sets – Part 1
    • Pre-Assessment
    • 1. Understanding Text Sets
    • 2. What Can Text Sets Do? Part 1
    • 3. What Can Text Sets Do? Part 2
    • 4. Planning Text Sets Around Essential Questions
    • 5. Summing It Up
    • Post-Assessment
    • Module Evaluation
How to use this Module


Welcome to the Adolescent Literacy series in the Ohio Literacy Library! This is an ever-expanding series featuring modules designed to support educators and other interested stakeholders of adolescents who desire to support their acquisition of literacy in the upper primary, middle, and high school grades. Strong literacy skills are essential for adolescents, as they are required to: (1) read to learn in a variety of disciplines; (2) build their knowledge by working with different text types, acquiring academic vocabulary, and sharing their ideas and impressions with others; and (3) master reading comprehension to take full advantage of instruction in content-area classes (Kamil et al., 2008). These skills are essential for success not only in upper grades, but beyond in the workplace and postsecondary education as well.

This series aims to support readers with evidence-based practices that provide adolescent learners engaging and relevant practice both inside and outside the classroom. Four module series are included within the Adolescent Literacy series, beginning with support strategies for students continuing to build literacy and fluency in the Word Recognition in Adolescents series. In the Teaching and Learning with Complex Texts module series, the challenges faced as adolescents begin working with the complex texts introduced in middle and high school are examined and methods of support are proposed. The Disciplinary Literacy module series continues this targeted approach as it introduces skills necessary to effectively communicate in the disciplines of secondary education. Literacy Screening and Intervention modules introduce methods of identifying difficulties in adolescents’ journey to literacy and practices you can use to support their foundational reading skills, comprehension, and writing skills.


Completion of The Simple View of Reading comprehensive learning module, or sufficient background knowledge of the Simple View of Reading.

Module Description

The science teachers among us will remind us that scientific knowledge is constantly evolving – and that when there is a change in the underlying ideas based on experimental findings, our paradigm shifts. The history teachers among us may also remind us that not all old knowledge is expired knowledge. Updating our knowledge often provides more nuance around what we first thought, but it also helps explain what was right and wrong about that earlier knowledge. That’s a shift many experienced teachers feel as they read research that clarifies their understandings of how literacy works – and there has indeed been a frenzy of new research, especially in the last decade, working hard to guide literacy instruction for adolescents. Strategizing your students’ learning with text sets has the power to transform your teaching effectiveness and their very minds – and those minds will send ripples into that far-flung future we cannot possibly imagine now. 

You will explore the potential of text sets to build background knowledge and deepen student interest, nuanced understanding, and reading comprehension. This module will guide your exploration of text sets through:  

  • Understanding Text Sets 
  • Planning Text Sets Around Essential Questions 
  • Ways to scaffold learning of content knowledge within a text set
  • How text sets can be designed to provide multiple perspectives and show deep complexity of topics and events

Learning Objectives

Number 1

Explain the purpose of a text set and how it enhances background knowledge and learning.

Number 2

Strategize how to scaffold learning content knowledge through backward design of increasingly complex sets of texts from varied genres, perspectives, and complexity levels.

Number 3

Identify how text sets can provide multiple perspectives and demonstrate the complexity of topics.

Number 4

Create an effective essential question to build a text set around.

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Click the boxes of the Notes you would like to print, and then click Download Selected. All your notes will be downloaded into one document separated by headers.

Purpose and Structure of Modules

All Ohio’s comprehensive learning modules are relevant to any educator working to support students’ literacy development. In each module, you will find in-depth narrative text, linked resources, realistic scenarios, reflection activities, and embedded audio and videos.

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When completing professional development modules within All Ohio, you can earn badges based on your engagement in and mastery of content within each comprehensive learning module. You earn Achievement Badges when you demonstrate proficiency with module content (i.e., obtaining a score of at least 85%), whereas Engagement Badges are awarded based on your level of participation on the site.

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Helpful Resources Related to this Module

Module Resources

An outline of the module’s main content and supporting resources.

Welcome & Navigation

Step-by-step guide to assist you in navigating the professional learning modules. 

Ohio Literacy Library

In-depth information about the purpose and key elements of the Ohio Literacy Library.

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