Paired book lessons for grades one through five provide students with opportunities to see connections and differences across literary and informational texts in three different types of pairings; fiction to fiction, non-fiction to non-fiction, and fiction to non-fiction.
These opportunities all help students to engage in higher-level thinking to meet your state’s standards, including Common Core. Book pairs and the questions contained in each lesson are carefully selected to help students achieve a deeper understanding of the text.
Students practice close reading skills to answer text-dependent questions along a range of complexity, from constructing an answer from evidence found explicitly in the text to gathering evidence from several places and using inferencing skills to construct an answer. Each paired book lesson is associated with two different leveled Reading A-Z books, and is organized around a key question.
To initiate each lesson, first, introduce the key question as a group. Next, introduce the first book, and preview its set of questions with students. As students read the book either as a whole class, in small groups or individually, they must read carefully to analyze and evaluate the text in order to answer the text-dependent questions for that book. This process is repeated with the second text. Sample answers are provided to the teacher for each question in the lesson.
During the discussion of each text, students practice finding evidence for each answer within the text. Students also practice collaboration using speaking and listening skills, as they consider multiple viewpoints and build perspective on a topic or issue.
A student response graphic organizer supports students during their discussion of each text-dependent question set, allowing them to record important points that will eventually help lead them to their written response to the key overarching question. After answering the questions for each text, students are encouraged to come together into groups, to answer the questions requiring both texts, providing them with further opportunities to practice reaching a consensus, an important twenty-first century and career-readiness skill.
Finally, students use the points they’ve unpacked from the individual texts to construct an answer to the key question. Once responses are complete, teachers can then facilitate a whole-class or small-group discussion of student constructed answers to the key question, and the evidence that supports those answers.
Higher-level thinking, reaching a consensus, working as a team and proficient listening and speaking skills are all attributes of a twenty-first century student and career-ready individual. The use of paired book lessons will give students the essential practice they need in all these areas, keeping them firmly on the path to educational success.