Since the release of the Common Core, text complexity has presented as one of the Common Core’s greatest challenges. We take in the idea that text complexity is a key component to success in college and career, yet, reconciling quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task considerations when selecting text seems, at times, to require us to apply knowledge that feels uncomfortably new and unfamiliar. We look to fill in our gaps by carefully studying the explanations provided in Appendix A by the authors of the Common Core yet, when we know that so much relies upon the difference between closely reading a text that is complex and one that is not, the task of selecting texts that meet the quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task criteria for complexity can feel absolutely paralyzing.
To help allay some of the concerns about text complexity, this post launches a series dedicated to thinking about this topic in a way that will hopefully help clarify some concerns and questions educators are asking about this important topic.
To begin, we wish to draw your attention to the most recent document to appear on the Common Core’s official website, www.corestandards.org, “Supplemental Information for Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy: New Research on Text Complexity.” While it is not clear when this ten-page document was released, its purpose is to offer educators additional findings regarding text complexity. Like the Common Core and its ancillary documents, this paper requires close, careful reading and contains some interesting information that will help to build your foundational knowledge and understanding about text complexity.
To help guide your reading of this document, we invite you to consider these questions as you read:
1. This document aims “to expand upon the three-part model outlined in Appendix A of the CCSS in ELA/Literacy that blends quantitative and qualitative measures of text complexity with reader and task considerations.” What new understandings do you achieve from reading this document?
2. Page four presents readers with a chart of text complexity grade bands for each of the six quantitative measures discussed in this document. Pay particular attention to the lexile suggestions. How have they changed from the original recommendations made in Appendix A? What significance do you see in these new suggestions?
3. Which of the “Key Considerations in Implementing Text Complexity” presented on page 7 will have the greatest impact on selecting texts for the level that you teach? Do they present equal importance or do certain recommendations seem more important than others to your particular teaching circumstance?
In the coming days, we will continue to look at this document as well as share additional ideas and thinking about text complexity that will support you as you work to implement the Common Core.