We are delighted to welcome Trisha Templeton, Teacher Librarian at Daramalan College, for this series discussing text sets. Part one of this series discussed text sets, the theory behind, benefits, and impact of using text sets. This blog demonstrates the benefits of using text sets in English and provides examples with learning outcomes.
Text sets have immense capacity to support literacy development and multiliteracies whilst meeting curriculum learning outcomes. By giving students specifically curated text extracts from a variety of sources and modalities, they are able to construct knowledge, as well as develop literacy and language in a social context.
Novel studies in English could be greatly advantaged by the inclusion of text sets. A single class text for a novel study can be simultaneously daunting to low literacy and low ability students, and great frustration to advanced and adept readers. The other issue is that many students lack sufficient background knowledge to fully understand the author’s intent, themes and storyline. Text sets have the ability to put the novel and author’s intent into context as well as provide important background information that allows the student to make sense of the textual components.
Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird’’ and Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” can be very challenging for students to comprehend, but the inclusion of text sets allows students to develop that prior knowledge and make those valuable connections to improve overall engagement and understanding of the novel (Lewis & Strong, 2020, p.46). Including information about segregation in the American south or Jim Crow’s laws, a brief biography of Rosa Parks or even an extract from Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech would help place Lee’s novel in context. Likewise, using Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s men” with “Macbeth” would help put the classic text into context of political power and corruption and interestingly, Howell (2016) suggests that embedding nonfiction such as the science of psychosis, hallucinations and sleepwalking, as well as Jacobean era misogyny with further support students trying to understand the plot to a deeper level.
Whilst there is evidence illustrating the efficacy of text sets in the study of literature, there are some teachers who believe that the study of an individual text is in itself a developmental milestone and an important reading experience. Whilst this is true, Lewis and Strong (2020) do point out that a single viewpoint reduces the number of meaningful connections made, and therefore minimises the variety of human perspectives that can be experienced (p.43). Therefore, the use of text sets in an English classroom allows the teacher to use more complex and challenging texts for their practice, as they are able to scaffold them appropriately and thus ultimately improve the overall literacy ability of their students.
Lee, H. (2010). To Kill a Mockingbird. London. Arrow Publishing.
Fischer, T. (2009). I have a dream. Flickr.com. CC BY 2.0
Non fiction book
Steele, P. (2019) Rosa parks and her protest for civil rights: 1 December 1955. USA. Cherry Tree Books.
What Jim Crow looks like in 2021
Hemmer, N. (March 25th, 2021). What does Jim Crow look like in 2021? CNN.com. Read article
Jim Crow, a name derived from racist minstrel shows that would come to stand in for the entire segregationist regime of the South, emerged in the late 19th century as a series of anti-Black laws: laws that stripped Black men of the right to vote, segregated public spaces, barred Black people from certain types of jobs.
N.S.W. Teachers' Federation & New South Wales Public School Teachers' Federation. (1919). Education : Journal of the N.S.W. Public School Teachers Federation. Read article
Jacobs, B., & Trulson, M. (1979). Dreams, hallucinations, and psychosis — the serotonin connection. Trends in Neurosciences 2. Pp276-280 Read article
Dreams, drug-induced hallucinations, and certain aspects of psychosis share common psychic and behavioural properties. Research in our laboratory, and in other laboratories throughout the world, has led us to the conclusion that these phenomenological similarities are based on common neurochemical mechanisms.
Shakespeare, W., & Coville, B. (1997). Macbeth. East Sussex, UK. Macdonald Young.
Lee, Kyoung H. (2010). Bewitching The Stage: Elizabethan And Jacobean Witch-Lore And Witch-Hunt. Wayne State University Dissertations. Read article
Macbeth signals the downslope on which the fearsome, sinister, archetypal witches on the Elizabethan stage were to be sent to their hanging noose for trifling with charms and potion. In this sense, the open fire and the famous cauldron encircled by the vengeful griping old women in Macbeth is the kitchen Titus Andronicus refused to descend even though what Titus does eerily resembles the witches’ inculpatory meddling with human remains.
Non fiction book
Bernstein, C., & Woodward, B. (2014). All the President’s men. USA. Simon & Schuster.
Year 10 Learning outcomes:
This text set was constructed very differently. Most of the students selected a biography or memoir and were asked to analyse the way the text empowered the reader and how it conveyed meaning about the individual’s life and values. However, there were several students with low literacy and therefore did not have the skills to sufficiently interact with the text in a meaningful manner. The decision was made to curate a booklet with collated extracts from a biography of their choice and supported with additional resources.
LLoyd, A., & Donaldson, M. (16th January, 2019). #36 Mark Donaldson VC [podcast]. Life on the Line. https://youtu.be/FbIUiMHhaGE
Keep an eye out for the final blog in this series where Trisha provides examples of text set usage in the Humanities/Social Studies
Balkus, Brenna C. (2019). Utilizing Text Sets To Teach Critical Literacy: Bringing Literacy Into The Social Studies Middle School Classroom. School of Education Student Capstone Projects. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.hamline.edu/hse_cp/309
Batchelor, K. E. (2017). Around the world in 80 picture books: Teaching ancient civilizations through text sets. Middle School Journal, 48(1), 13–26. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1080/00940771.2017.1243922
Beck, P. (2014). Multigenre Text Set Integration: Motivating Reluctant Readers Through Successful Experiences with Text. Journal of Reading Education, 40(1), 12–19. CSU Library.
Cervetti, G.N., & Hiebert, E.H. (2019). Knowledge at the center of English language arts instruction. The Reading Teacher, 72(4), 499–507. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1758
Creighton, J. (6th February, 2014). Isaac Asimov: Science fact and science fiction. Futurism. https://futurism.com/isaac-asimov-science-fact-and-science-fiction
Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today's Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators' Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers
Elish-Piper, L., Wold, L., & Schwingendorf, K. (2014). Scaffolding High School Students’ Reading of Complex Texts Using Linked Text Sets. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 57 (7). DOI: 10.1002/jaal.292 © 2014 International Reading Association (pp. 565–574). CSU Library
Hoch, M., McCarty, R., Gurvitz, D. & Sitkoski, I. (2019). Five key principles: guided inquiry with multimodal text sets. The Reading Teacher 72 (6) pp701-710. International Reading Association CSU Library.
Howell, H. (2016). Embedded nonfiction ideas for Macbeth. Teach like a champion [Blog]. Retrieved from https://teachlikeachampion.com/blog/helen-howell-shares-embedded-nonfiction-ideas-macbeth/
Hughes, H,. Bozorgian, H., Allan, C., & Dicinoski, M. (2013) School libraries, teacher-librarians and their contribution to student literacy development in Gold Coast schools: Research report. School Library Association of Queensland , QUT. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/60260/
Kay, J. (23rd February, 2012). Prophets of science fiction: Jules Verne Recap. ScienceFiction.com. https://sciencefiction.com/2012/02/23/prophets-of-science-fiction-jules-verne-recap/
Lannin, A., Juergensen, R., Smith, C., Van Garderen, D., Folk, W., Palmer, T., & Pinkston, L. (2020). Multimodal text sets to use literature and engage all learners in the science classroom. Science Scope, 44(2), 20–28.
Lewis, W., & Strong, J. (2020). Chapter 3 - Designing content area text sets. In Literacy Instruction with Disciplinary Texts: Strategies for Grades 6-12. Guildford Publications. CSU Library.
Lupo, S., Berry, A., Thacker, E., Sawyer, A., & Merritt, J. (2019). Rethinking text sets to support knowledge building and interdisciplinary learning. International Literacy Association 73 (4). Pp. 513-524. CSU Library. DOI:10.1002/trtr.1869
Lupo, S., Strong, J., Lewis, W., Walpole, S., & McKenna, M. (2017). Building background through reading; Rethinking text sets. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 61(4), p.433-444. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/jaal.701
Pennington, L. K., & Tackett, M. E. (2021). Using Text Sets to Teach Elementary Learners about Japanese-American Incarceration. Ohio Social Studies Review, 57(1), 1–14.
Mania, K., Mabin, L.K., & Liebenberg, J. (2018). ‘To go boldly’: teaching science fiction to first-year engineering students in a South African context. Cambridge Journal of Education 48 (3), pp389–410, https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2017.1337721
Merga, M. (2020). School librarians as literacy educators within a complex role. Journal of Library Administration, 1-20. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworkspost2013/8875
NSW Department of Education. (2020). Planning EAL/D support. Multicultural Education. https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/multicultural-education/english-as-an-additional-language-or-dialect/planning-eald-support
Parker, G. (2018). The top 20 scientific breakthroughs in history. MoneyInc.com. https://moneyinc.com/top-20-scientific-breakthroughs-history/