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Explain the Value of Multiple Sources

August 6, 2019

Most teachers integrate multiple texts within a unit or concept of study. However, most students do not understand the bigger purpose behind this practice. In fact, many question Why do we have to read MORE about this? Didn’t we already read about this yesterday?

This is evidence that students assume all texts on the same topic reveal the same information and possess the same perspective. It’s important for teachers to address and alter this attitude.

“Change the teacher talk”

With each new text introduced in a unit, label it as a new source of information. Students need to know that a “one and done” approach to learning something is not good enough. Readers seek additional information from other places–other sources–in order to add to and deepen their understanding of the topic.

Define the advantages

Specifically, describe what readers gain from reading multiple sources. Additional texts:

  • Introduce NEW facets of the subject that were not mentioned in the first text.
  • Provide ADDITIONAL details on ideas that were only broadly mentioned in the first text.
  • Reveal DIFFERENT perspectives and contradictory viewpoints to those described in the first text.

Value corroboration

Acknowledge that along with all this new information, additional sources on the same topic will also repeat some information learned from the first text. But this is also a good thing; it’s a sign of corroboration. When different authors confirm the same facts, details, anecdotes, etc. that is evidence that the reader is learning accurate information.

Reading multiple texts within a unit or theme is not busy work. In fact, it’s essential. Convince students that readers value multiple sources as a means of deepening their understanding on any topic.

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