November 24, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

‘Text Sets’ Slated to Help School Librarians Advance College Readiness

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School librarians are uniquely positioned to create learning materials that support state standards that support college readiness.

Student Achievement Partners (SAP), a nonprofit founded by lead writers of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that creates and disseminates free education resources, has announced its first training dates for its Text Set Project. The project brings together teams of librarians, educators, and suppliers to develop units of instruction—or “Text Sets”—to support teaching college readiness and the CCSS. The initial sets will be annotated bibliographies of recommended multimodal, multi-genre collections of free materials on a range of topics to use in the classroom.

The first three text-set training sessions will take place in Chicago, Illinois, from (September 16–17); Seattle, Washington (November 12–13); and Clark County, Nevada (February 23–24). The sessions consist of two-day programs with registered teams of one to two librarians and three to five educators. Participants must register as a group for one of the conferences listed through the Council of the Great City Schools. During training, each registered team will be paired with a trainer experienced in developing text sets who acts as a “coach” and helps the team develop and curate a unit of instruction on topics that will support classroom studies on a range of topics and levels, from “The Constitution, Grades 6-8” to “The Wonders of Nature: Building Knowledge About Animals with Special Abilities, Grades 2-3.”

Text Set training, a mini-consortium of sorts, involves sharing research about the critical role knowledge-building plays in reading success, including how to sequence an effective set, support in coaching, and select the books and articles that could form a solid text set. As part of the project, each team must produce an annotated bibliography—the Text Set—and each set will be accompanied by teacher instructions and recommendations, including a variety of tasks to ensure the students have learned from what they have read. Following the sets’ ongoing development, the models will be shared for free with educators through open education resource channels (including Edmodo and www.achievethecore.org).

The effort behind the Text Set Project is driven by the curricular shift toward college and career readiness standards—most notably the CCSS, notes Meredith Liben, English Language Arts and literacy team director at SAP.

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Click here to view sample text set “Wonders of Nature: Building Knowledge About Animals with Special Abilities, Grades 2-3.”

Despite the controversy and confusion around CCSS, the standards are here to stay—even for the states that have repealed them or are in the process of repealing them, says Marc Aronson, a Rutgers University lecturer in the School of Communication and Information. “The reality is that even in states that have rejected or modified elements of the [Common Core English Language Arts] standards, a great deal of the [standards’] emphasis remains the same.”

Aronson, also an SLJ columnist, will join the upcoming text-set events as a trainer.

The CCSS require that students prove college readiness skills, such as attentive reading and producing text evidence to support their opinions and interpretations. Librarians are uniquely positioned to assist students, states Liben, because of their training and expertise on evaluating books and articles and understanding the features and qualities of text that make it rich and complex. In addition, she says, Text Set training is also an opportunity for librarians to help train fellow teachers to develop an eye for the qualities of text. “It’s one more opportunity for librarians and educators to collaborate to create diverse, focused collections for the classroom.”

How to get involved:

  1. Assemble a team (1-2 librarians and 3-5 educators) and register for one of the conferences listed through the Council of the Great City Schools.
  2. Inquire about sponsoring an additional regional training in your state or district in the spring of summer of 2015 with Meredith Liben at mliben@studentsachieve.net.
  3. Look for and use the Text Sets as they start coming online starting in late October 2014 on www.achievethecore.org or www.edmodo.com.
  4. Use the training materials and the spreadsheet of most commonly taught social studies and science topics K-5 to create your own text set project. (Materials available in late September.)
Carolyn Sun About Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun was a news editor at School Library Journal. Find her on Twitter @CarolynSSun.

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