Text Sets Research Guide

What are Text Sets?

"Quite simply, text sets are a collection of sources of information that have a commonality; that is, they explore a shared topic, issue, or big idea. In the classroom, text sets become an essential tool for teaching children to gather and draw from multiple sources of information when exploring topics, issues, or ideas--they are a tool for creating what we hope will be a lifelong habit of mind. ...We know that multiple sources of information enable us to expand comprehension of topics, issues, and ideas in every facet of our lives. To support children in understanding the power of multiple sources and the process of using them thoughtfully, we must present text sets as a natural method of building understanding as we explore big ideas about our world beyond content instruction."

Nichols, Maria.  Expanding Comprehension with Multigenre Text Sets.  New York: Scholastic, 2009.

Useful Databases

Academic Search Complete: Useful for finding book reviews (from the New York Times, Booklist, School Library Journal, and several education journals) about specific titles. 

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD): Find potential children's books based on genre or topical keyword and age/grade/reading levels.  Includes thousands of literature reviews.

Student Research Center: Good for finding encyclopedia articles, basic biographies, newspaper articles, and primary sources.  When searching, it is easy to chose which of these items are wanted. 

TeachingBooks.net: A database of children's books that is browsable by subject and grade level.  Useful for finding books on specific topics and of the appropriate levels.

Locating Books for Text Sets

There are many ways to locate appropriate materials for test sets, including the databases and web resources on this page. If you already have a specific book in mind, check to see if we own that book by searching the catalog by title

If you have a topic in mind, but are looking for specific titles, an advanced search in the catalog is the best place to start.  Type the keyword for your text set into the search box, and choose Youth Collections from the "Location" drop-down box.  

advanced keyword search

When your results come back, pay attention to a few things: location, call number, and current status.  Most of these books will be located in the Youth Collection on the 6th floor of PCL, but some will be in the Benson Collection.  The status indicates whether a book is available (like these) or checked out (a date would be listed under status).  The call number is especially useful.  It not only indicates where in the section the book will be located, it indicates whether the book is a work of fiction or non fiction.  Notice that the call number for the first book about Abraham Lincoln begins with E and the second call number begins with PZ.  PZ call numbers are juvenile literature, so this book is fiction.  E and F call numbers are American history.  These books are non-fiction.  In general, any book that does not have a P call number will be non fiction, with History and Social Sciences at the beginning of the alphabet, and Sciences at the end.        


A keyword search for space gave this result, with a Q call number:


Once you find a non-fiction book about the subject in which you are interested, you can use the call number to browse for similar books in the stacks.  Since the books are grouped by subject, all of the books about Abraham Lincoln, for example, should be near one another.

If you want to include an encyclopedia article in a text set, consider using one of the "useful databases" listed on this page. 

Subject Specialist

 Janelle Hedstrom's picture

Janelle Hedstrom, Education Librarian

Email: EdLibrarian@lib.utexas.edu

Meet: Request a consultation (available in person or via Adobe Connect)

Locating News & Magazine Articles for Text Sets

We have many databases aimed at K-12 students.  They include fiction, non-fiction, encylopedia content, images and primary sources.  Many are searchable by reading or grade level.

There are also some great web resources for this:

Time for Kids

National Geographic Kids

Scholastic News

Locating Primary Sources for Text Sets

The following databases databases contain primary sources that might be interesting additions to text sets for elementary and secondary students.  Simply do your search by topic (civil war) and then look for a way to limit results to primary sources.

If those UT databases do not have primary sources that fit your needs, you may find some great options online in free digital libraries. These can be good places to start...

American Memory

The Avalon Project

DocsTeach and the National Archives 

Locating Poetry for Text Sets

To search for poetry in the catalog, start with the advanced search.  In the search box, type d:poetry AND the topic of your text set.  Set the location to Youth Collections.  Like this:

locating poetry for text sets

We have a fair amount of poetry, which should have call numbers in the P's, but if nothing comes up with the topic you search, try a different term.  This searches the subject headings (which are like tags librarians assign to books) for poetry and the topic of your text set, but it may take a few tries to come up with the term the librarians used!

More Reading about Text Sets

Expanding Comprehension With Multigenre Text Sets l print

Children's Literature in the Classroom: Engaging Lifelong Readers print 

Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers, 2nd ed. print