Yesterday, we detailed the 12 step process recommended by the Common Core State Standards. While working through the process a few times with a group of colleagues in order to understand the ironic complexity of defining text complexity is probably worthwhile, we think that engaging in this process with the hundreds of books we hope your students will read this year is not only unnecessary but a little ridiculous, and even counterproductive to student learning.
Here is an abbreviated procedure for considering the “appropriateness” of the text complexity students encounter:
1. Give students a book.
2. Listen to students read.
3. Talk to the child about what was read.
4. Decide if the text was too hard, too easy, or just right.
5. Adjust the text selection accordingly and select, or help students select, a new book.
6. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Really. It doesn’t have to be rocket science.