Teaching Students to Select Diverse Texts

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Getting students to choose diverse texts can be a challenge for any teacher. This lesson offers you some strategies for expanding students' horizons as they choose what to read.

Why Text Diversity Matters

Text diversity refers to the idea that different books and genres reflect different worldviews. Often, students get caught up in reading one particular type of book all the time. This is natural, as we all gravitate toward books we love, and the more we read of a particular author, genre, or style, the easier it becomes for us. Yet, is it important to encourage students to step outside of their reading comfort zone and diversify their text selection.

When students learn to read a variety of different authors, genres and styles, they learn to open their mind to new perspectives and ways of seeing things. Students who read diversely learn to think critically and formulate their own points of view by synthesizing information and opinions from a variety of sources. As a teacher, you may be wondering how you can encourage students to diversify their text selection. This lesson gives you some ideas!

Discuss It Openly

One way to encourage students to read more diversely is to discuss the issue openly with them. Be sure not to criticize students for their reading choices, but ask them to think about what makes them gravitate toward particular books. Explain your reasoning for why it might be important to sometimes try different types of text, and encourage students to talk together about what obstacles might be preventing them from branching out. Maintain this conversation over time as a way of helping students reflect on their literature choices.

Switch It Up and Reflect

If, even after an open conversation, students remain rigid about their text selections, you may need to mandate a switch it up week, or month. During this period of time, instruct students that they must read something different from usual.

For instance, if they always read white authors, explain that for the next month, they must read only works by authors of color. If they always read nonfiction, tell them that the next month will be spent on fiction or poetry. Be sure to give students plenty of opportunity to reflect orally or in writing about what they learn from doing this switch. Ask them what they like and dislike about the new texts they are reading, and how it makes them think differently about the world.

Peer Recommendations

Another great way to get kids to diversify their selection is by making use of peer recommendations. Sometimes, students listen to each other in ways that they will not listen to an adult.

Ask each student to prepare one recommendation of a book, author or genre that they love. The recommendation should include a brief synopsis and insight into what makes that particular text great. Have students share their recommendations with their classmates. Then, tell your class that each of them must try out a book that a friend recommended and share their feedback with that peer. The book they choose should be one they would not ordinarily select.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support