Using high-interest paired passages helps you connect with your current students and engage with them on topics they actually enjoy.
I remember the day I realized I was getting older.
I was providing a real-world connection to a novel we were reading, and I mentioned someone from a high-profile event that I thought my students would know.
My students simply stared at me.
They had no idea who I was talking about.
How could that be?
I brought up a picture of the person and explained it again, certain that they had misunderstood what I said.
Then I noticed the date on the picture, and I realized that the case I was referencing took place when I was in middle school. It was not even from this decade.
That’s when I understood their confusion.
At first, I felt a little sad. I was officially old… or at least that is what my inner voice was saying.
Now, years later, I look back on that same experience with a completely different perspective.
It wasn’t that old, but it was a very old reference for my students.
Staying current is important as a teacher!
Even though I may still be a spring chick, I am old to my students, and I have to be careful to use content that they actually know and understand.
Making Connections with High-Interest Paired Passages
Now, I am much more aware of what kinds of examples I use around my students rather than using examples from ‘back in the day.’ I use recent examples that they will understand.
I have begun really focusing on finding content for lessons that align with my students’ interests and topics that are very relevant to them.
Since we do a lot of reading passage work, I often find myself looking for and creating high-interest paired passages.
When I talk about topics like video games and TikTok in passages, my students are engaged and are able to make their own connections.
Ways to use Paired Passages
We can use these types of passages to discuss all sorts of things.
They can be a springboard for a Socratic Seminar, a resource for a research paper or project, or a way to compare and contrast viewpoints.
Since each of the paired passages addresses the topic from a different angle, we can use the passages in various activities that work on a variety of standards and skills.
Some additional activities you can try with these high-interest paired passages include…
- Sentence Slips
- Citation Work
- Research Starters
- A Scavenger Hunt
- Facts First
To learn more about each of these activities, read this post which explores 5 New Ways to Use Paired Passages!
Paired Passage Topics to Engage with Students
Now that I am more aware of my students’ needs and interests and what kinds of topics they like to engage with, I spend time making high-interest paired passages on a variety of topics.
Here are some of the topics my students are currently into.
Each of these high-interest paired passage sets are differentiated for different grade levels and reading abilities and have built-in questions to start conversations and get students to consider the topic more thoroughly.
They are a great way to make your classroom content relevant and interesting for your students and make you feel a lot more ‘hip’ too!