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Literature. Romeo, Romeo, Art thou complex?. and Text Complexity. What do you mean by complex?. 9-28-11 RRS . Types of Literature. Storybooks. Historical Fiction. Poetry. Fables. Tall Tale. Drama. Folktales. Science Fiction. Fantasy. Fairy Tales.

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Romeo, Romeo,

Art thou complex?




What do you mean by complex?




Types of Literature






Tall Tale






Fairy Tales


Do Your Students Have Access to

a Wide Variety of Books?


Multiple Genres?

Cross Curricular Connections

(Science, Social Studies, technical subjects)?

Cultural Connections?

Interest Levels?

Readability Levels?

Text Complexity?

Take a Closer Look at your books!


One of the key requirements of the

Common Core State Standards for

Reading is that all students must be

able to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school.

Complexity of Text


Essential Questions

Why does text complexity matter?

What factors influence text complexity?

How is text complexity measured?

What resources exist in the CCSS to support educators understanding and selection of increasingly complex text?


Why Does Text Complexity Matter?

Decline in sophistication of K-12 Texts


Decrease in emphasis for students to read complex

texts independently


A serious gap between many high school seniors’

reading ability and the reading requirements they will face

after graduation


Reading Between the Lines

ACT 2006

Analyzed the Reading section of the ACT college entrance exam to determine

Which skills differentiated those that achieved benchmark and those that did not.

(About half, 51%, of the half million test takers who take the test each year)

  • What students could read, in terms of its complexity, rather than what they could do with what they read, was determined to be the greatest predictor of success.

Question type (main idea, word meanings, details) is NOT the chief differentiator between student scoring above and below the benchmark.

  • Question level (higher
  • order vs. lower order; literal vs. inferential) is NOT the chief differentiator

A text that has short simple sentences

may, nevertheless, be challenging to

read/comprehend when it contains

abstract ideas, unfamiliar concepts, and

high levels of interpretation” (Hess and

Biggam, 2004).


Text Exemplars

Performance Tasks


I shall dance tonight.

When the dusk comes crawling,

There will be dancing and feasting.

I shall dance with the others

in circles, in leaps, in stomps.

Laughter and talk

Will weave into the night,

Among the fires

of my people.

Games will be played

And I shall be

a part of it.



By Lopez, Alonzo


Romeo, Romeo,

How art thou complex?

Your Turn to

Take a Closer

Look At Poetry



  • Introduce Background Knowledge
  • Immerse students in more complex language exposure
  • Engage students in carefully selected graphic organizers to
  • make the structure of the text visible
  • Model how to interpret meaning of texts that use more
  • complex approaches
  • Pair students for reading of more challenging texts with
  • opportunities for reflection and writing
  • Stretch students to reach beyond their reading level
  • Scaffolding GUIDES readers to more complex texts



The text exemplars are supplemented

by brief performance tasks that further

clarify the meaning of the Standards.

These sample tasks illustrate

specifically the application of the

Standards to texts of sufficient

complexity, quality, and range.

Appendix B


Students (with prompting and support from the teacher)

compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of

the owl in Arnold Lobel’s Owl at Home to those of the owl in

Edward Lear’s poem “The Owl and the Pussycat.” [RL.K.9]

Students retell Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together while

demonstrating their understanding of a central message or

lesson of the story (e.g., how friends are able

to solve problems together or how hard work pays off). [RL.1.2]

Students describe how the character of Bud in Christopher Paul Curtis’

story Bud, Not Buddy responds to a major event in his life of being placed

in a foster home. [RL.2.3]

Students summarize the plot of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s

The Little Prince and then reflect on the challenges facing the

characters in the story while employing those and other details in the text to discuss the value of inquisitiveness and exploration as a theme of the story. [RL.5.2]


by Paul Fleischman


Students read Paul Fleischman’s poem “Fireflies,” determining the meaning of words and phrases in the poem, particularly focusing on identifying his use of nonliteral language (e.g., “light is the ink we use”) and talking about how it suggests meaning. [RL.3.4]


Oh Captain! My Captain!

Students analyze Walt Whitman’s

“O Captain! My Captain!” to uncover the poem’s analogies and allusions. They analyze the impact of specific word choices by Whitman, such as rack and grim, and determine how they contribute to the overall meaning and tone of the poem. [RL.8.4]

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.


Texts need to be selected around topics or themes that

generate knowledge and allow students to study those

topics or themes in depth.


Making Connections

Third Grade Unit 3 Week 4