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Tip of the Week: 5 social studies text sets, reading passages, and notable tradebooks

As we ask our kids to read more fiction as well as non-fiction texts, it can sometimes be difficult finding just the right content. The good news is that there are resources online that can help. Here five of the most helpful:

Great for social studies teachers or for building background knowledge in reading class, CommonLit’s text sets cover a range of historical, cultural, and political topics and include relevant reading passages from a variety of genres. CommonLit has an impressive list of partners and delivers high-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12. Their resources are flexible, research-based, aligned to the Common Core State Standards and created by teachers, for teachers.

newsela-text-setsNewsela has a wide range of resources that all aligned to different Lexile reading levels. So be sure to visit all of their goodies (especially their primary sources) but their text sets are especially powerful.

The nonprofit ReadWorks provides K-12 teachers with what to teach and how to teach it – online, for free. They “provide the largest, highest-quality library of curated nonfiction and literary articles in the country, along with reading comprehension and vocabulary lessons, formative assessments, and teacher guidance.” Get their K-8 social studies text sets here.

senate-violenceOkay. The Smithsonian Magazine technically is not a collection of text sets. But if you’re looking for all sorts of amazing articles focused on history, you’re going to love Smithmag. Check out relevant articles such as In the Congressional Fight Over Slavery, Decorum Went Out the Door and The Injustice of Japanese-American Internment Camps Resonates Strongly to This Day.

These are also not text sets but if you’re looking for huge numbers of fiction and non-fiction texts all reviewed by other social studies teachers, you need to head over to the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Tradebooks page. And be sure to browse through all the past issues.

What’s the best way to use text sets? Try this model.


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ryan #

    Great post Glenn. Recently found CommonLit myself. I especially like their informational text “Causes of the Civil War”.

    February 16, 2017
    • glennw #


      Yes! Forgot about Achieve the Core! Great place for blending social studies and ELA content and skills. Thanks for reminding us!


      February 20, 2017

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