Last week, we showcased some favorite read-aloud books that come to mind when we thing spring in elementary schools. A primary colleague and I were discussing book choices and got onto the subject of text sets. One way to expose students to a variety of genre is to compile text sets that have a common subject or theme but that may cross genres. An easy way to enter into this way of teaching is to pair fiction and nonfiction texts. If you look at your very own units of study you may even see that you are common-core ready with variety of books on your bookshelves already. A common science topic in the spring in primary classrooms are seeds. Glancing at my own shelves I am able to consider how I can bring my readers’ thinking where I would like it to be, teach them text structure and authors’ intentionality, and still enjoy the book as a quality piece of literature.
I can’t look at my text sets very often without at least one Lois Ehlert book in the stack. If we keep with the “seeds” theme I would begine with two of her classics: Growing Vegetable Soup and Planting a Rainbow.
Both books teach the basic life cycle of planting but also take it to the next level that all gardeners enjoy – the pleasure of cooking and eating soup you’ve made from the veggies you have grown and the beautiful colored flowers that you can enjoy and then grow again next year.
No one can teach in a primary classroom without some of Eric Carle’s classics. How about pairing Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed with Gail Gibbons’ From Seed to Plant?
Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long have teamed up to offer what we call a hybrid text. A Seed is Sleepy offers both narrative text that tells a story and nonfiction text that teaches everything a student would want to wonder about seeds. The illustrations show true to life drawings, timelines, and diagrams of seeds that will captivate any primary student who trhinks about nature. This just the beginning of thinking about texts sets to use as interactive read alouds. Hopefully this will inspire you to look at the books on your own shelve and see if you can join them together to teacher the readers in front of you.