Text to Text: A Strategy for Common Core Close Reading

The-Scarlet-Letter-1917The NY Times Learning Network has just launched a new series of lesson plans called “Text to Text.” It’s a simple approach that pairs two written texts that “speak to each other.” I think it’s a Common Core close reading strategy that could be easily replicated by teachers across the curriculum – great way to blend nonfiction with fiction and incorporate a variety of media with written text.

Each lesson includes a key question, extension activities and additional resources to expand the basic lesson. Here’s two graphic organizers to help student organize their “Text to Text” thinking. (free PFD downloads)
Comparing Two or More Texts
Double-Entry Chart for Close Reading

The NY TImes plans to continue the series at the Learning Network – tagged Text to Text
To date they have created three sample lessons:

“The Scarlet Letter” and “Sexism and the Single Murderess”
Key Question: To what extent is there still a sexual double standard, and how does that double standard play out in contemporary culture?
It pairs a passage from “The Scarlet Letter” with a recent Op-Ed article that, together, invite discussion on societal attitudes toward female sexuality.

“Where Do Your Genes Come From?” and “DNA Double Take”
Key Question: How are recent advances in science changing our understanding of the genome, and how might this affect fields like forensic science or genetic counseling?
It matches a Times article with often-taught scientific, historic, cultural or literary material. This edition is about new findings in genetics.

“Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg”
Key Question | Is Snowden a Hero, a Traitor or Something Else?
It pairs two Times articles that capture parallel moments in history: Daniel Ellsberg’s surrender to the police in 1971 after leaking the Pentagon Papers, and Edward Snowden’s public admission in June that he leaked classified documents about United States surveillance programs.

Image credit: 1917 Film version of ”The Scarlet Letter” – publicity still (cropped)
L. to R Stuart Holmes, Kittens Reichert & Mary Martin Date

5 thoughts on “Text to Text: A Strategy for Common Core Close Reading

  1. Reply
    Katie Kappler - September 27, 2013

    As a teacher in a school district that has a heavy focus on reading, writing, and analyzing texts, I love this idea and the work being done by the NY Times Learning Network. I have used many resources from this site in the past!

    I teach 6th grade though, and I wonder if the NY Times Learning Network would consider replicating this process with lower-level, lower-Lexile texts for upper elementary and middle school students? I know we’d totally use them!

    Thanks again for the free resources!

    1. Reply
      Peter Pappas - September 27, 2013

      Great idea Katie. The Times Learning Network asked teachers for feedback and suggestions for this series. You should share your idea with them. They also encourage teacher submission of all kinds of lessons.

  2. Reply
    stephen hurley - September 28, 2013

    Peter, I’m an American teacher teaching middle school in Indonesia this year and finding your resources really helpful. Thank you.

    1. Reply
      Peter Pappas - September 28, 2013

      Hi Stephen,
      Glad to be of help. You might like this post as well 18 CCSS Literacy Strategies for Struggling Readers – Defining, Summarizing and Comparing. Lots of good lessons there.

  3. Reply
    Roseanne Cheng - September 29, 2013

    Just stumbled upon your website. What a fantastic resource for teachers. Thanks so much.

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