Ok, so now you know what a text set is. But, how do you create them? Its not as easy as just pulling a bunch of books together; to create thoughtful, purposeful text sets (to create thoughtful, purposeful learning) actually takes some work. Some basic steps (summarized and paraphrased from Maria Nichol's Expanding Comprehension Through Multigenre Text Sets, 2009) are:
1. Determine the goal or standard that you are working with
2. Using a backward design, plan the unit with the end in mind. What is it that you want the students to come away with knowing? How will they be assessed on this?
3. Decide what literacy standards you are going to try to integrate (for example, in Virginia, Reading SOL 4.5 states that "The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction" by using text organizers, formulating questions, explaining author's purpose, making inferences, drawing conclusions, summarizing and distinguishing between cause and effect.) This would be a perfect standard to integrate in with a science or social studies text set.
4. Turning those standards you chose into inquiry questions
5. Finally, now you can work on selecting your sources of information.
6. But, you still need to plan the progression of lessons, guided practice and independent work/inquiry.
Now, you're probably scared and thinking, "Text sets sound hard. I don't want to do this." Sure, they sound hard, but they really aren't. Plus, the are so beneficial to student learning. Its something you should really consider doing.