Teaching With Text Sets

Text sets are collections of articles curated by the editors of Upfront. Watch this short video to learn more, then keep reading for some of our favorite ways to help you and your students explore these collections.

Many teachers use texts sets for independent reading, while others use them for whole-class or small-group instruction. Here’s how Upfront's text sets can help you inspire students to read, gain content knowledge, and synthesize information.

Foster Student Choice | Differentiate Instruction | Build Background Knowledge | Support Comprehension | Guide Critical Thinking | Reflect After Reading | Launch Research Projects


When using text sets for independent reading, empower students to explore their interests by allowing them to choose which of our 24 text sets to read, or which texts to read within a set. You can form discussion groups of students who choose the same texts. You can have students prepare for these discussions by using the Close Reading Checklist skill builder, found in our Skill Builder Activity Library.

Differentiate Instruction

You can support struggling readers and English learners by using alternate versions of texts, especially for guided reading or small-group instruction. Most of our text set articles are available at a lower reading level, which you can access from this toolbar on the article page:

screenshot of an Upfront article page

Build Background Knowledge

When using texts to teach students about popular curricular topics in whole-group instruction, play a video from the text set to build students’ knowledge before they read. Then give students an active listening task. After watching the video once, play it again and pause to discuss key ideas and check for understanding.

Support Comprehension

Text sets come with five interactive skill builders:

• Support an Opinion: Support an opinion using evidence from two or more articles

• Arrive at a New Understanding: Synthesize information from two articles to form a new idea

• What's the Same? What's Different?: Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast two articles

• The Order of Events: Complete a timeline with events from two or more articles

• My Thinking Changed Because . . .: Analyze how reading two or more articles affected your thinking on a topic

screenshot of the Upfront issue page's teaching resources section

Guide Critical Thinking

Help students understand features of nonfiction texts. Point out the dateline at the beginning of each article that shows when it was published. Explain how students can use that information to understand relative dates, such as “this month,” “last December,” and “by the end of this summer.”

Reflect After Reading

After the class explores a text set, guide students to reflect on it. Lead a discussion by asking questions such as:

• What surprised or confused you?

• What did the author think you already knew?

• What changed the way you think about something?

• What made you want to learn more?

• What do you still wonder about?

Launch Research Projects

Use text sets as a springboard to launch research projects. Have students develop questions they want to explore based on their reading. Then guide students to find credible sources, take notes, organize information, and present their findings to the class with a poster, report, video, podcast, or slideshow.