Paired Text Unit Plan Assignment Instructions

Expanding our understandings of disciplinary literacy means that we need to continually encourage our students to read like the scientists, historians, mathematicians, and future business entrepreneurs that we hope that they become. This also means that we need to provide a variety of non-fiction or informational texts and passages to our students. One way to help with this is to pair these non-fiction passages and texts with existing pieces of established literature. This method is commonly used to teach literacy in English Language Arts classes with the non-fiction/supporting text known as a “mentor text.” This may seem easy at first, but we must be discerning purveyors of literature. The texts that we select must compliment the selected literature in both content and structure and must be age/grade appropriate. Although we can often readily find examples of non-fiction texts with a similar subject, they might not always present as a great choice for our reading levels. In addition, non-fiction or informational texts can sometimes be very dense or dry, so we must try to find the most engaging and content-specific work we can.

Note: This assignment requires you to select and read a grade-level appropriate text from a series of options. You will need to begin this assignment during Week 1 to ensure that you are able to submit by the assignment due date. Failure to do so may result in an inability to complete this work in a timely manner.

During Week 1 you should choose one of the listed/selected texts found in the chart at the end of the instructions based on your appropriate Grade Level Band (K-5; 6-8; 9-12) and licensure area. All selections should be from this list in order to be graded. If you would like to use a book not found on this list, please ask your professor for permission prior to Week 2. You must present the name/author of the book as well as a sound justification in how it supports literacy in your selected content area/licensure in order to be considered. Submissions using texts other than those listed in the given chart without receiving prior permission from your professor may result in an ungradable assignment and may need to be resubmitted.

After choosing and reading your initial literature, you will then need to find and select an appropriately matched non-fiction/informational supporting text that is content-specific and present your findings using the guide found below. This non-fiction text can sometimes be called a mentor text and will provide evidentiary and contextual support for your literature selection in classroom use.

Your assignment submission must include the following components regarding your selected texts:

  1. Overview

Provide a short 1-2 paragraph overview of both your original text selection and your supporting text. Be sure to note the source of the text or passage as well as the general relation of the text to the subject area.

  • Excerpt of the text

Provide an excerpt of the passage or text that is no less than 500 words and no more than 1500 words to coincide with both the overview/summary and qualitative calculations. This should be the portion of text on which your quantitative analysis was performed.

  • Quantitative analysis

Provide a short (1 paragraph) quantitative analysis of the selected text including at least two of the following readability formulas including the calculation methods: SMOG, Fleisch-Kincaid, Lexile, Fry Readability. Some excellent resources for this include:
  • Qualitative analysis

Provide a short (1 – 2 paragraph) qualitative analysis of the selected texts including a discussion of the concerns and considerations that a teacher may need to make in order to teach the content. Consider and note any important themes, cultural considerations, or other important factors that may help a teacher to determine the appropriateness of the text in the classroom.

  • Justification for the selection of this particular text to the original chosen fiction text.

This section should comprise the bulk of your review. In a few paragraphs (2-4), explain the relationships between the text selected and the mentor text. Be sure to include specific quotes/sections of the text that support one another and that can be used to help students better understand your content. Address specific ways that these text pairs can be used to help meet specific standards in your content and age group licensure areas. Be sure to name and list the national standards that would be relevant to a lesson incorporating these ideas.  

Novel/Literature Choices by Grade Band

K  – 56 – 89 – 12
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table   2030: A Day in the Life of Tomorrow’s Kids   The Misadventures of Maude March   Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes   The Trouble with Wishes   Horses Hooves and Chicken Feet: Mexican Folktales   Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue   The Earth Dragon Awakes   The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo: An Eco Mystery   Peak   The Phantom Tollbooth   The Wall: Growing up behind the Iron Curtain   Airborn   Maniac Magee   Sarah, Plain and TallThe Lions of Little Rock   The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – 1963   The Green Glass Sea   The Boy Who Dared   The Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1   Brown Girl Dreaming   The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate   The Outsiders   If I Stay   To Kill a Mockingbird   The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen   The Book Thief   How it went down   A Night Divided   The Boy in the Striped PajamasThe Hate U Give   Dear Martin   Night*   To Kill a Mockingbird   1984   Frankenstein   Outbreak   Rocket Boys*   A Wrinkle in Time   Hidden Figures*   Inside Out and Back Again   Black Rain   Bury my heart at Wounded Knee   Slaughterhouse-Five   The Ugly American   The Bell Jar   Monster   Salt to the Sea   The Book Thief

*Although mentor texts are often paired with a fiction text, these represent non-fiction selections that are seminal works and appropriate for teaching in the classroom and maybe used in the classroom. Your selected mentor text should be a subject appropriate informational text that supports the ideas found here if these are your selected works.

**If you would like to use a text outside of this list, please email your professor seeking permission no later than Week 2. Justified suggestions are always welcome and may be considered provided it can meet the requirements of the assignment. Permission should be granted by your professor to use a book not from this list before proceeding. 

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