Reading Paired Text: Common Core Lessons

The Common Core standards differentiate between particular types of reading material and, thus, are re-orienting the way we think about reading and writing tasks. For instance, paired reading is now mentioned specifically and, therefore, must be built into the curriculum so students are well prepared for achievement testing. Paired Reading Text provides reading selections (social studies and science topics) with comprehension and writing activities. The pairing of texts (one informational; one literary) allows students to compare multiple viewpoints, encouraging information integration.

Each of the eight units (four in social studies and four in science) contains two thematically related selections that are tied together by an "essential question". Each text has comprehension activities - vocabulary, oral close reading discussion, comprehension questions and a writing prompt. Then, teacher-guided discussion of the topic, the two texts, and the focusing question along with another writing assignment provides the unit assessment.

The Grade Level Teacher Book provides teaching instructions for each unit that include a unit overview, lesson plans, and questions for both the oral close reading discussion and the unit assessment discussion. Student pages are reproducible for a classroom and a complete answer key is provided. The Student Practice Book (Individual Student Workbook) provides non-reproducible student pages and no answer key.

The student pages for each reading selection include:

  • Article (two pages with illustrations in the Grade 3 book)
  • Dictionary Page - writing sentences from vocab words
  • Apply vocabulary - complete sentences from word choices
  • Answer Questions - reading comprehension (multiple choice and whole sentence)
  • Write About It - assignments plus graphic organizers
The unit assessment writing assignment also includes graphic organizers and has an emphasis on addressing the question that draws the two text articles together.

To give you an idea of this type of reading/writing instruction, consider the third unit from the Grade 3 book. Topic: Meeting the Father of a Country; Essential Question: What was the first United States president like? The first article is The Generals and Their Dogs which relays across battle lines dog-finding and returning incident from the Revolutionary War. The second is The Legend of the Cherry Tree which shares the old story that is generally considered to be made-up legend. The assessment writing asks the student to describe Washington's character as a young boy and how/if it changed as an adult.

This well-done series provides quality reading comprehension and writing preparation in a targeted application that is correlated to the current state standards (most of which are CCSS). Conservative parents will likely sigh a bit at some of the content choices; at the same time recognizing they are consistent and typical of the CCSS. 176 pgs, pb. ~ Janice


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