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Textmasters: Shaking Up Textbook Reading in Science Classrooms

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Textmasters: Shaking Up Textbook Reading in Science Classrooms

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Seven 60-minute lessons
Lesson Author

Lori Wilfong

North Canton, Ohio


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Textmasters was created to bring the collaborative learning environment of literature circles to content area reading with a science or social studies textbook. Students are placed in groups of four and given a schedule of the reading of the upcoming chapter. All students read the same section of the book but complete a role sheet to guide their perspective: Discussion Director, Summarizer, Vocabulary Enricher, and Webmaster. Each role was created with textbook structures and formatting in mind. Students meet together to share their roles. Meetings continue biweekly until the chapter is finished. Creative presentations serve as a review of the chapter content before groups are set up with a new reading schedule.

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Wilfong, L.G. (2009). Textmasters: Bringing literature circles to textbook reading across the curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(2), pp. 164171.

  • Student scores on chapter tests went up 6% when comparing a traditional round of reading, answering questions, and study guide review versus Textmasters meetings and creative presentation review.

  • Students enjoyed the collaborative nature of the strategy, reporting that they learned more from their peers than by merely reading the text and answering questions.

  • The teacher involved with the pilot of the strategy stated that, after her initial organization of materials for students, she had more time to work with high-needs students.

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