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Creating Text Sets for Your Classroom: Creating Text Sets

What are Text Sets

A text set is a collection of sources that support a common theme, issue or topic. Text sets should include a variety of genres, text types, levels and formats.

Examples of materials to include (but are not limited to):

  • fiction (novels, picture books, short stories)
  • non fiction
  • poetry
  • images
  • newspaper and magazine articles
  • apps
  • webcasts and podcasts
  • websites
  • artwork
  • songs
  • primary sources (interviews, documents, artifacts)

How to Create Text Sets

What steps are involved in putting together a text set?

  1. Start with the content - what do students need to know or in other words --  what do you need to teach (theme or concept)?  It is helpful to have an anchor text: a complex grade-level text. The anchor text could be the focus of a close reading with instructional supports in the classroom.
  2. Build the text set  - find material that supports the content you want to teach and want students to learn.
  3. Organize the texts - how and when will you use the texts?
  4. Creating and responding to texts - how will students work with the texts, what will they do with the texts? (Cappiello, 2013)

A few essential questions to ask and/or issues to consider when assembling a text set.

  1. Think about the standards. What are students expected to know and be able to do? This can dictate the topics/themes chosen.
  2. What do you (the teacher) want students to know (beyond the standards)?
  3. What topics/themes/content will engage and excite students (Cappiello, 2013)?

Cappiello, M. A., & Dawes, E. T. (2013). Teaching with text sets. Huntington Beach, Calif: Shell Education.

Ways to Have Your Students Evaulate Text Sets

The use of text sets can be evaluated in the following ways:

  • Have students write letters to future users of the sets to include with the materials.
  • Observe students as they use the sets and confer with them.
  • Ask students to compare and contrast specific pieces in the text set.
  • Record questions for students to ponder and research. (These questions can also be attached to the lid of the box for others to see.)
  • Have students mark interesting and important places in the text with sticky notes that describe connections made by the reader. 


Books in Wiggins Memorial Library are cataloged using the Library of Congress Classification system.

Find It! DEWEY

Books in primary and secondary schools are cataloged using the Dewey Decimal system.


"When teachers make the transition from textbook only classrooms to multitext classrooms, the focus of study becomes concepts rather than the content of one particular book. Students gain both a broad perspective and an in-depth sense of the subject matter from reading many texts on the same topic. I know of no one textbook that contains enough information to help a student become even mildly expert on any topic."     --Gail Ivey

References for “Text Sets: A Supplemental Alternative” Ivey, G. (2002). Getting started: Manageable practices. Educational Leadership, 60, 3: 20-23. 

Hero Villain Text Set

Review the video below and study the teacher's use of "Stop and Jot," as she explains to her students how to look for key hero and villain characteristics in Disney's, The Lion King.

LC Detailed Classification for "P" Language and Literature

    Juvenile non-fiction titles are located in classes within the topic of their regular subject heading class from A (general works) to Z (bibliography). Below is a quick guide resource for popular subject headings for children’s literature which will lead to educated browsing of the CMMC collection.



    Subject Heading



    Language and Literature



    English Language


    PE 1155

    PE 1628

    Alphabet Books

    Juvenile Dictionaries



    Liteature (General)



    PN 6371

    PN 6727-6790



    Comic books/Graphic novels



    English Literature



    American Literature



    Fiction and Juvenile


    PZ 5



    PZ 6

    Early to 1860/1870


    PZ 7

    General Juvenile Fiction Alphabetical by author last name



    PZ 7.7

    More graphic novels


    PZ 8

    Fairy tales


    PZ 8.1

    Folklore, Legends, Romance


    PZ 8.2



    PZ 8.3

    Stories in Rhyme


    PZ 10.3

    Animal Stories


    PZ 73-78

    Languages: Spanish

    For research resources browse or search the following subject headings in the CMMC or in the basement of Wiggins Memorial Library:

    Call Number Range



      Education (General)


      History of education


      Theory and practice of education


      Special aspects of education


      Individual institutions


      Student fraternities and societies, United States




      Reading Level Guides

      • - Search for a specific book to find out the reading difficulty level of that title.
      • Lexile Framework for Reading
        Search for a specific books or a list of books
      • Teacher Book Wizard
        Use Quick Search to search for reading difficulty and interest level of a specific book title, or use Leveled Search to find a list of books by reading difficulty level. Includes lesson plans, more.

      Finding Primary Resources

      Teaching Digital North Carolina Primary Source Sets

      C-SPAN Classroom-Free primary source materials for social studies teachers.

      Sets of primary sources on specific topics.
      Complete transcripts, audio, video database and directory of American speeches, sermons, lectures, and interviews.

      Finding Poetry

      Poetry Foundation

      The children’s poet laureate aims to raise awareness that children have a natural receptivity to poetry.

      Creative and inexpensive suggestions for making poetry a more important part of school life during April and throughout the year.

      Finding Websites and Apps

      Finding Audio and Videos offers a collection of audio and video speeches organized by theme and historical period.

      BBC's Witness podcasts
      Witness history as told by the people who were there. Five days a week we will be talking to people who lived through moments of history to bring you a personal perspective on world events.


      Finding Music

      Grove Music Online via Oxford Music Online (Full Text)
      Grove Music Online is a comprehensive reference source for music, providing over 8,000 articles on composers, performers, conductors, instruments and notation, forms and genres, and individual works. It offers the full texts of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, as well as The Oxford Companion to Music and The Oxford Dictionary of Music.
      Limited number of concurrent access. Try again later if access is denied.
      Naxos Music Library
      Naxos Music Library [NML] is the world's largest online classical music library. Currently, it offers streaming access to more than 70,377 CDs with more than 1,013,542 tracks. On average, 500 new CDs are added to the library every month.
      Limited number of concurrent access. Try again later if access is denied.
      Online Resources:

      Finding Journal Articles