Complex Texts and Close Reading in the Common Core. Presented by Erin Alvarado and Sarah Smith. Goals. Discuss what makes a text complex Discuss close reading of complex texts Explore resources that provide complex texts for your subject matter
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Presented by Erin Alvarado and Sarah Smith
Reading demands in college, workforce and life have increased while complexity of K-12 texts have declined.
Clearest differentiator on ACT was students’ ability to answer questions on complex texts.
One of the key requirements of the CCSS for Reading is that all students must be able to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school.
By the time they complete the core, students must be able to read and comprehend independently and proficiently the kinds of complex texts commonly found in college and careers.
1. Quantitative Measures-Readability and other scores of text complexity are often best measured by computer software. Useful for placing texts initially within a grade-band.
The CCSS advocate a "staircase" of increasing text complexity so that students can develop their reading skills and apply them to more difficult texts.
At the lowest grade in each band, students focus on reading texts within that text complexity band.
In the subsequent grade or grades within a band, students must "stretch" to read a certain proportion of texts from the next higher text complexity band. This pattern repeats itself throughout the grades so that students can both build on earlier literacy gains and challenge themselves with texts at a higher complexity level.
Grade Current band “Stretch” band
K–1 N/A N/A
2–3 450L–725L 420L–820L
4–5 645L–845L 740L–1010L
6–8 860L–1010L 925L–1185L
9-10 960L–1115L 1050L–1335L
11–CCR 1070L–1220L 1185L–1385L
Initially place a text in appropriate grade-band by quantitative measures, and then think of a “general” reader in that grade-band as you complete the qualitative review, particularly knowledge demands dimension.
There is no correlation between complexity “score” and grade level. A text that is “very complex” in all dimensions is not a high school text, just as one that is “slightly complex” in all dimensions is not an early elementary text.
At this point, try not to think about your particular students. The qualitative review considers a wider grade-level audience.
Gale password “elvis” offers complex texts for every subject, searchable by Lexile level, keyword, etc.
American Academy of Poets offers a wide range of poems by a diverse set of classic and modern authors.
American Literature features short stories.
American Rhetoric provides audio and written transcripts for 100 great speeches.
Authorama provides free books that are in the public domain.
Bartleby links to a wide variety of literary and informational texts.
Bibliomania offers over 2000 free classic texts for download.
Complex Text Wiki is a resource for articles and tools to use in the search for complex texts.
Children’s Classics offers a large selection of children’s stories.
Discovery and Discovery Kids are resources for informational texts and videos, especially those on scientific topics.
Discover Magazine offers digital articles on a variety of topics in the areas of science, technology, and the future.
Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts is a great resource for folktales and myths, a focal text type in the CCSS.
Kids Ahead is a division of National Geographic and includes articles about a variety of science topics.
Librivox has a great selection of free audiobooks.
NASA includes articles, videos, and other scientific informational resources.
National Park Service offers informational texts on scientific and historical topics related to each national park.
National Geographic includes a variety of scientific and historical informational texts and multimedia resources.
The National Women’s History Project provides information about important women in history.
Project Gutenberg connects users to sources for free books.
Science News for Kids offers articles about science topics for elementary or middle school students.
Shanahan on Literacy explores a variety of topics related to literacy learning and assessment, including text complexity and close reading.
Smithsonian Institution contains primary sources as well as links to other sites pertaining to the topic being researched.
Time for Kids and Washington Post for Kids offer articles on current events appropriate for elementary or middle school students.