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Text Complexity

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Carly Finkelstein

on 27 September 2013

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Transcript of Text Complexity

Text Complexity
What does "Text Complexity" mean?
Text complexity refers to the difficulty and sophistication of a text. The goal is for students to be able to read and analyze texts that are college- or career- appropriate by the time they graduate.
How can we increase the complexity of the texts in our classrooms?
Discuss with a partner or small group for 3 minutes. We will share some of our responses, strategies, and techniques when time is up.
Helpful Resources
Text Complexity Rubrics

"7 Actions that Teachers Can Take Right Now: Text Complexity" by Elfrieda H. Hiebert

"Advancing Our Students' Language and Literacy - The Challenge of Complex Texts" by Marilyn Jager Williams


In order to help students understand complex texts, we need "(1) to endeavor to teach students the words they will need to know, and (2) to expect the students to learn new words through reading" (Adams 6).
The students need to be READING and LEARNING NEW VOCABULARY all the time!
"We must organize our readings in every subject so each text bootstraps the language and knowledge needed for te next. Gradually, students will be ready for texts of greater complexity" (Adams 9).
Domain-specific texts allow for scaffolding of knowledge and vocabulary because the teacher can scaffold the texts themselves.
The "Takeaway"
Focus on Knowledge - not just content knowledge, but thematic knowledge.
Create Connections - KNOWS (existing Knowledge, New knowledge, Organizing knowledge, Widening webs of knowledge, Sharing what they have learned)
Activate Students' Passion
Develop Vocabulary - across the board, research shows that is the most vital element of our students understanding complex texts.
Increase the Volume (and the frequency)
Build Up Stamina
Identify Benchmarks
(Hiebert 1-9).
The "Takeaway"
Why is it important to use complex texts in the classroom?
To meet the demands for college, career, and citizenship
increased difficulty of college textbooks
colleges and careers expect a more sophisticated vocabulary
Students are expected to read complex texts with greater independence (less scaffolding).
The college student is held to a greater level of accountablity for what they read on their own
We are expected to prepare students for the cognitive demand of independently understanding increasingly complex texts.
Rubrics: How to evaluate a text's complexity
Literary text rubric
Informational text rubric
Sample annotated text with accompanying rubric
Full transcript