I am a huge fan of pairing books. I'm also a huge fan of kids getting to choose what they read. How to give kids freedom but also pair? Enter the brainchild of my first year teaching 7th grade! After teaching narrative the first quarter and expository the second, I knew I wanted to have the kids do something with both in the third quarter - the very same quarter leading up to writing STAAR where kids would have to write in both modes.
Students read the narrative of their choice and then pair it with an expository book to check it for accuracy. I then had them present their findings by finding quotations from each, writing an overall thesis statement of accuracy, and compiling it all on a presentation. Some kids used Prezi and others PowerPoint.
Examples of pairings:
Colin Fischer paired with a book about autism
Lightening Thief paired with a book about Greek Mythology
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry paired with a book on the Jim Crow Era
Lower level teachers could easily remove the MLA citation component and use grade appropriate texts.