Compiling Rigorous Thematic Text Sets: Books About Immigration

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 third 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 last two posts, I compiled books about the moon and books about Kenya. Today we look at books about immigration:

Theme/topic: immigration

Grade: 2nd

Informational Text: Coming to America written and photographed by Bernard Wolf (Read Aloud)

  • provides information about a family’s experience immigrating from Alexandria, Egypt to Queens, New York.
  • can be used to address informational text standards

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

from Bernard Wolf's Coming to America

from Bernard Wolf’s Coming to America

Realistic Fiction: Amelia’s Road by Linda Jacobs Altman (Independent Reading)

  • the main character in the story is of the daughter of migrant farm workers, many of whom come from Mexico, South America and the Caribbean to  work in the farmlands of California’s Central Valley
  • can be used to address literature standards

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

Realistic Fiction: Cooper’s Lesson by Sun Yung Shin (Guided/Shared Reading)

  • the main character in the story is Korean American and struggles with issues of cultural identity
  • can be used to address literature standards

Poetry: A Movie in My Pillow by Jorge Argueta (Guided/Shared Reading)

  • the poems chronicle young Jorgito’s experiences as he moves from rural El Salvador to San Francisco, California
  • can be used to address literature standards

Biography: The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucía González (Guided/Shared Reading)

  • discusses the life and contributions of storyteller and librarian Pura Belpré, known for her outreach work to Puerto Rican immigrants
  • can be used to address informational text and literature standards
The-Storyteller

from The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucía González

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

Further Reading: Thematic Text Set: The Moon (2nd grade)  & Thematic Text Set: Kenya (3rd-4th grade)

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