Wednesday, September 17, 2014

National Text Set Project Launch - Increase Volume of Reading = Building Knowledge

I am attending the inaugural professional development two-day conference sponsored by the Council of the Great City Schools and Student Achievement Partners (SAP) in the Windy City.   This is a librarian’s opportunity to shine.  Why?  This project is about creating resources that help build knowledge.  You can do all the close reading exercises you want with students but without the opportunity to help build knowledge with students they will not be successful readers. 

Over the past several months, I have participated in several conference calls with SAP discussing what text sets might look like and how to engage educators in this process.  The SAP team has created a two-day training model.

How librarians can shine
Text sets allow you to examine the resources that you currently have and build on these resources.  You don’t immediately need to run out and purchase materials.  What you need to do is take a thoughtful approach to what exactly this text set is meant to achieve.  Teachers need librarians to collaborate when developing the resources that will be used in a text set.  What online databases does your state provide?  What online databases does your school provide?  Are you using these resources?  Do you even know about which resources to use?  Do you know where to fine balanced reviews about resources?  All questions your librarian can answer for you. 

Increase Volume of Reading = Building Knowledge
In this text set approach we want to increase the volume of reading.  Yes, we are looking at reading levels. Yes, we are putting together a grouping of resources with grade bands in mind.  No, we are not using the curriculum to completely drive the topics.  We are thinking about topics that can engage learners.  We are not developing learner objectives.  Well, yes we are.  The learning objective with the CC standards in mind:  Increase Volume of Reading.

Close Reading Overused
I can’t emphasis enough – that this is about volume of reading.  It is not about close reading.  Over the last six months, I have had discussions with a variety of librarians that are finding that close reading is turning students off.  They are becoming tired of reading because of close reading.  A group of 5th Grade students in one local school actually said to their librarian – “Please don’t make use close read anything, can’t you just read to us?”  The librarian’s response was – “Yes, I can!”  Guess what?  They enjoyed listening to a story and remained engaged throughout the reading of a book! Listening skills are important.

Reading Stamina
Got Reading?  Get Stamina!  Improving reading requires our students to build reading stamina.  How do you do this?  Well, by reading more!  Increase Volume of Reading!  Create Text Sets to accomplish this. Increase Reading Stamina!

Tomorrow is day two of our training – stay tuned for more thoughts on this project.

Future training opportunities across the country will be:
November 12-13, 2014 in Seattle, WA
December 8-9, 2014 in Baltimore, MD
February 23-24, 2015 in Clark County, NV
I will post the specific location and registration links for these future trainings when they are available.


  1. i think you mean Close Reading Overused -- without that "d" at a glance you are saying we need MORE close reading, even more than we need to "use" the books. And of course you mean the opposite. Thanks for going and for posting this.

  2. I am glad to see this emphasis on volume of reading. It's the way to build background knowledge and sustained interest.

  3. We try to encourage high school students to read complete history books, and we are always looking for good HS history research papers. The Winter 2014 issue (#103) has papers from Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan as well as by students from high schools from across the U.S. (average length 7,500 words).

    Will Fitzhugh
    The Concord Reviewi