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Shifting Instruction to the Core. Text Complexity and Text-Dependent Questions. Essential Questions:. How can a deeper understanding of Shifts 3 & 4 guide us in moving our instruction into the Core? How can collaboration help us share and vet ideas and resources?. Objectives.

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shifting instruction to the core

Shifting Instruction to the Core

Text Complexity and Text-Dependent Questions

essential questions
Essential Questions:

How can a deeper understanding of Shifts 3 & 4 guide us in moving our instruction into the Core?

How can collaboration help us share and vet ideas and resources?

  • Use a common rubric for evaluating text complexity
  • Collaboratively engage in a process for crafting TDQs
  • Continue the conversation and accessing resources using Edmodo
text complexity
Text Complexity
  • Shanahan on text complexity
    • Former President of the International Reading Association
    • Advisory Board for National Institute for Literacy

what is text complexity

Overview of Text Complexity

What is text complexity?

Quantitative measures – readability and other scores of text complexity often best measured by computer software.

Qualitative measures – levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands often best measured by an attentive human reader.



Reader and Task considerations – background knowledge of reader, motivation, interests, and complexity generated by tasks assigned often best made by educators employing their professional judgment.

Reader and Task


  • Roald Dahl’s “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf”
  • Appendix B, 4/5 complexity band
text dependent questions
  • Questions that can only be answered with evidence from the text
  • Can be literal but can also involve analysis, synthesis, evaluation
  • Focus on word, sentence and paragraph as well as larger ideas, themes or events
  • Focus on difficult portions of text in order to enhance reading proficiency
why text dependent questions or why not go outside the text
  • More time outside the text less inside
  • Going outside the text privileges those who have that experience
  • It is easier to talk about our experiences than to analyze the text
  • These are college and career standards

Text-Dependent Questions are not…

  • Low-level, literal, or recall questions
  • Focused on comprehension strategies
  • Just questions…

Three Types of Text-Dependent Questions

When you're writing or reviewing a set of questions,consider the following three categories:

  • Questions that adressthemes and central ideas
  • Questions that targetknowledge of vocabulary
  • Questions that highlightsyntax and structure

From “Hot and Cold Summer” - 5th grade fictional text

  • “To avoid someone means to keep away from them so that you don’t have to see them and they don’t have to see you. How did the boys avoid meeting Bolivia at first?” (pg. 23)
  • Re-read the last two paragraphs on page 39. Rory had a “strong suspicion”. What is a suspicion? What details in the story made Rory suspicious of Bolivia?
culminating tasks
Culminating Tasks
  • Should relate to core understanding and key ideas.
  • A coherent sequence of textdependent questions will scaffold students toward successfully completing the culminating task.


“The title of this selection is ‘Because of Winn-Dixie.' Using your answers from the questions above and class discussion, explain why this is an appropriate title for the selection. Be sure to clearly cite evidence from the text for each part of your answer.”

“Officer Buckle’s final safety tip is 'ALWAYS STICK WITH YOUR BUDDY.' How did he and Gloria each learn this lesson for themselves throughout the story?”

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • There is no one right way to have students work with text dependent questions.
  • Providing for the differing needs of students means providing and scaffolding supports differentially - not asking easier questions or substituting simpler text.
  • Listening and speaking should be built into any sequence of activities along with reading and writing:
    • “Re-read it, think it, talk it, write it”
  • The CCSS require ALL students to read and engage with grade appropriate complex text regularly. This requires new ways of working in our classrooms.
where do we find the resources
Where do we find the resources?

Key word: etuyrm

Basal Alignment Project


How can a deeper understanding of Shifts 3 & 4 guide us in moving our instruction into the Core?