Why should I be teaching paired passages?
Let’s face it–paired passages are becoming the norm on standardized tests, so students need a chance to practice reading and responding to them. The SAT now requires students to read paired passages as well.
Moreover, paired passages are a great way to increase rigor in your reading and writing lessons. They will prepare kids for the type of reading and writing they will do later in life.
The many benefits of paired passages
If you want to challenge kids and increase the depth of knowledge, paired passages are a great way to go. They require students to synthesize rather than just understand.
Paired passages really prepare students for the real world, where they will have to sift through and analyze a great deal of information. Someday, students will write research papers with multiple sources. They need to master the skills of citing multiple sources, finding common themes, and contrasting ideas.
Also, teaching paired texts can be a great way to address multiple standards, since you can pair fiction with non-fiction.
How do I start?
Before attacking a set of texts, I like to start with visuals.
Ask students to use a Venn diagram and compare and contrast these two dogs. This is fun and relevant hook to the lesson.
Next, I like to start small, with short passages of around 100 words. Students will probably need to see you model an example or two first. Then, you can move on to guided practice and independent practice.
I tell students to read the question first, then read the passages. This will help them focus on key details. They can annotate the texts and highlight as they read.
With all constructed response writing prompts, I use the RACE strategy. When responding to paired passages, I modify it to RACCE since they are citing TWO different passages. (Re-state, Answer, Cite the first text, Cite the second text, and Explain). For more about the RACE Strategy and how it has transformed my writing lessons, click here!
How do you teach paired passages? Do you have any tips or tricks for teaching paired passages? Share them in the comments!
If you’re looking for ready to use paired passages for your class, click below: