3 Ways to Bring Books Into Classrooms

This post is for both educators and writers. I hope it will be useful!

Text Sets

I had never heard of Text Sets until my friend Deb Gonzales directed me to Barb Rosenstock’s website. Barb has made Text Sets for her books, and they are an awesome teaching tool.

Text Sets provide, in two pages, book titles (fiction and nonfiction) and links to material that enhances and enriches the reading experience of a book. Here’s a screen shot of a small portion of the text set I’ve made for CARRY ME HOME:


And here’s a link to the pdf Text Set for CARRY ME HOME. Note that because of the live links embedded in the document, it’s easier to use on line, but can be downloaded and reproduced as well.

Teacher Guides

I’ve made downloadable pdf Teacher Guides for all of my books. Unlike Text Sets, Teacher Guides provide suggested activities. Early on my guides were lengthy – now I find that again, two pages is just about right.

Some of the kinds of things that can be included in a Teacher Guide are:

  • puzzles/games
  • science activities
  • vocabulary work/textual discussion questions
  • thematic discussion questions
  • character/plot analyses
  • critical thinking analyses

And so on. Here’s an example of the Teacher Guide for my picture book VOLCANO DREAMS.

Video/Audio Snippets

I’m about to start making video and/or audio snippets of my work. When I was teaching – 8th and 9th graders – I often read aloud to them in class. I don’t think we should ever stop reading aloud, honestly. Listening to a reading touches a different part of the brain, and enhances comprehension, particularly for auditory learners.

I made one video for my publisher this past spring, and an audio recording for TeachingBooks, and I read aloud from my books for both of these. My new goal is to offer very short read-alouds of portions of my books and post them on line. I’ll keep you informed, with links!

What suggestions do you have for ways to bring books alive in classrooms? Please share! With thanks!

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