Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets: Books About Kenya

Jaclyn DeForgeJaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.  This is the second in a series of posts on thematic text sets.

One aspect of the Common Core that I get asked questions about all the time is thematic text sets. What are they? How do you know which books to use? What types of texts should you be pairing together?

Fear not! I’ve compiled some examples of text sets that cover one topic and span multiple genres and reading levels. Some of the titles you may already have in your classroom library, and others I think you’ll enjoy discovering. In my first post, I compiled books about the moon. Today we look at books about Kenya:

only-the-mountains-do-not-move

Theme/topic: Kenya

Grade: 3rd-4th

Informational Text: Only the Mountains Do Not Move by Jan Reynolds (Guided or Shared Reading)

  • provides information about the Maasai people of Kenya
  • can be used to address informational text standards

(a free Teacher’s Guide is available for this title)

Realistic Fiction: First Come the Zebra by Lynne Barasch (Independent Reading)

  • the main characters in the story are from the Kikuyu and Maasai tribes
  • can be used to address literature standards

(a free Teacher’s Guide is available for this title)

Narrative Nonfiction: Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams (Read Aloud)

  • the story chronicles the Lost Boys’ journey from southern Sudan to Kenya
  • can be used to address informational text and literature standards

(a free Teacher’s Guide is available for this title)

Biography: Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton Johnson (Read Aloud)

  • discusses the life and contributions of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai
  • can be used to address informational text and literature standards

(a free Teacher’s Guide is available for this title)

seeds-of-change

What books would you put on this list?  Add your favorites in the comments!

Further Reading: Thematic Text Set: The Moon (2nd grade)

One Comment

  1. Posted April 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    This is helpful. A variety of genres – important to meeting CCSS. I’m wondering about what you considered as far as theme – how do these texts related as far as the author’s message? And how do the texts increase in complexity?


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  1. [...] Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets: Books About Kenya. [...]

  2. [...] I think you’ll enjoy discovering. In my last two posts, I compiled books about the moon and books about Kenya. Today we look at books [...]

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