e-Learning for Educators
Course Information

Text Sets: K Through Grade 5 for Active WV Educators
Course Description

Is there a solution to closing the reading gap? Ample research supports that text sets build knowledge and vocabulary around specific topics of study. This course gives participants a deeper understanding of leveled reading instruction to support student growth in reading and vocabulary. One session will give an overview of the changes towards higher standards for English Language Arts instruction. Participants will also have the chance to reflect on current teaching practices and address problems that have created the reading gap. Readings, resources, and session activities ask participants to consider text complexity and intentionality for reading activities to further address the gap. By the end of the course, participants will have a solution to closing the problem: text sets

Course Syllabus

Upon completion of this course, participants will:

  • define what a text set is and why it is important
  • understand the purpose behind shifts in ELA instruction to align to higher standards
  • reflect upon current practices in literacy instruction and the role of building knowledge and vocabulary
  • understand the need to utilize text sets in order to build vocabulary at a rapid pace, which is necessary in order to close the reading gap
  • choose appropriate materials in order to fill in knowledge gaps in an existing text sets
  • understand the elements of text complexity
  • analyze texts qualitatively and pair them with appropriate activities
  • understand how an expert pack is organized to build vocabulary and knowledge
  • implement and reflect on activities that build knowledge and vocabulary in the classroom


Course Organization

This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.

When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.

This professional development course is designed for K-12 teachers in West Virginia public schools. Participants in this course will design and implement an e-portfolio during this course. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers and be able to download and upload files. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means.  One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online


Format and Requirements

This workshop is divided into six one-week sessions plus an Orientation which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 hours to 7 hours in addition to working on the portfolio project and implementing it with a class.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:

Session One Overview of ELA Shifts
Session Two The Problem: Why Build Knowledge and Vocabulary
Session Three The Solution Part 1: Using Text Sets to Build Knowledge and Vocabulary
Session Four Text Complexity Unpacked
Session Five The Solution part 2: Building Knowledge and Vocabulary with Intentionality
Session Six Putting it All Together

Session One: This session introduces the three ELA Shifts and describes the purpose behind the shifts in ELA instruction to align to higher standards. Additionally, the session identifies the instructional practices connected to the ELA Shifts. Participants will specifically understand Shift 3 in relation to Shifts 1 and 2. The session will also allow participants the opportunity to reflect upon the shifts and their own teaching practice related to those shifts. Participants will also complete the Core Actions Scavenger Hunt in an effort to better understand the Core Actions and ELA Shifts.  

Session Two: This session encourages participants to reflect upon current teaching practices and what problems may exist in both their own practices and teaching practices in general. Through several bodies of research, the participants will gain deeper insight into the problems and solutions involved in closing the reading gap. Participants will also gain insight into the myths and orientation of leveled reading theory as well as its role in literacy instruction today. Participants will understand the need to utilize Texts Sets in the classroom in order to build vocabulary at a rapid enough pace to begin to close the reading gap.

Session Three: During this session, participants will experience a Text Set from both the teacher and student perspective. Participants will read and complete an entire text set as a “student” in an effort to better understand the process. Participants will choose appropriate materials in order to fill-in knowledge gaps still existing after readings are complete. Additionally, participants will reflect on the entire text set experience. In their reflection of the experience, participants will specifically consider potential obstacles and solutions to implementation of a text set in their classroom or school.

Session Four: During this session, participants will gain insight into text complexity, its importance and how to assess complex text. The readings and resources will explain how to simplify text complexity in a way that teachers can easily understand and utilize. Participants will also understand how to design tasks with text complexity in mind. Participants will also complete a Qualitative Analysis Rubric to analyze texts and pair those texts with appropriate activities.  Additionally, as a portion of the project, participants will determine what knowledge is necessary for comprehension of that text as well as how to increase complexity through assigned tasks.

Session Five: Participants will begin to understand that building knowledge and vocabulary with intentionality leads to reading and vocabulary gains in the classroom. The readings and resources will support the rationale for vocabulary exposure and instruction. Participants will gain insight into the specific and intentional organization of the ways in which an expert pack is organized in order to build vocabulary and knowledge. Participants will take part in a project in which they will provide a rationale for choices from the menu and implement a strategy or strategies of their choice into classroom instruction. Upon completion, participants will reflect upon classroom implementation of activities.

Session Six: During this session, participants implement and reflect on activities that build knowledge and vocabulary in the classroom. Throughout the course participants will have a gained a deeper insight into both the ELA shifts and the importance of building knowledge and vocabulary in order to close the literacy gap. Participants can both define what a text set is and explains its importance in the literacy instruction. The resources in this session will support the need for an “either or” approach to reading instruction as well as a way to access already created text sets ready for use in the classroom. Participants will take part in a project in which they will provide a rationale for choices from the menu and implement a strategy or strategies of their choice into classroom instruction. Upon completion, participants will reflect upon classroom implementation of activities.


Session Project and Assessments

Each course session will feature a session project, associated session project rubric and a session peer-review rubric:

Session One Session One Project Template  Session One Project Rubric and Session One Peer-Review Rubric
Session Two Session Two Project Template  Session Two Project Rubric and Session Two Peer-Review Rubric
Session Three Session Three Project Template  Session Three Project Rubric and Session Three Peer-Review Rubric
Session Four Session Four Project Template  Session Four Project Rubric and Session Four Peer-Review Rubric
Session Five Session Five Project Template  Session Five Project Rubric and Session Five Peer-Review Rubric
Session Six Session Six Project Template  Session Six Project Rubric and Session Six Peer-Review Rubric
Assignments and Discussions

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory. There is a required orientation quiz and both pre-course and post-course surveys.

Orientation Quiz & Workshop Surveys: Participants must complete an Orientation Quiz with a score of 90% or higher.  In addition, participants are expected to complete both a pre-course and a post-course surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six.

Discussion Participation: Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum.  Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality. Each week, participants will review their colleagues project templates using a peer-review rubric. The Rubric Review Help Guide will assist in completing this review.

Read the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion PostingsYour facilitator will follow these guidelines and the checklist when evaluating successful participation in the course Discussions. 

Copyright and Plagiarism

All resources referenced during the course will be properly documented. Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities.  All work associated with course projects, course assignments and course discussions will be original to each course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project. 

Plagiarism, the reproduction of all or any part of another individual’s or organization’s work, by a course participant of work associated with the course project or other course assignments at any point during the course will result in no credit being awarded for the course.


All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion.  A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of this course, Balanced Reading Diet for Pre-K through Grade Five, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant by attachment to the final project dropbox after the completion of the course.

Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, Concord University or West Virginia State University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content and Technology Standards

This workshop, Text Sets for Pre-K through Grade 5, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V.For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org

In addition, participants may refer to WV Standards for English Language Arts (http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies) as they engage in course content.

About this Course

This workshop was developed for the West Virginia Department of Education (http://wvde.state.wv.us) under the guidance of the EdTech Leaders Online (http://edtechleaders.org) at Education Development Center. EdTech Leaders Online provides capacity building, training, and online courses for school districts, state departments of education, and colleges and universities.

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007