Text Complexity
The What, the Why, and the How
California Reading
Association
November 2, 2013
This presentation can be fo...
Approaches to Reading Instruction:
A quick history lesson

1500’s

1800’s

McGuffey Third Reader, Junior High Level
A leve...
Text Complexity- A quick history
lesson

1930’s Dick and Jane
A basal reader- whole word
reading approach

Basal Readers 1...
Text Complexity- A quick history
lesson

1990’s-2000’s Guided
Reading

2000’s-2013
Anthology’s and
Scripted Instruction

2...
Why is Text Complexity
Important?
Common Core and
Fundamental Shifts

Write from
Sources

Build
Knowledge in
the Disciplines

The Common Core brings a renew...
CCSS Standard 10-Text Complexity
What makes this difficult?
Or is it?
Text Complexity

WHAT IS IT?
Elements of Text Complexity
Quantitative Elements of Text
The quantitative element of text complexity refers to
factors of text that are easier for a ...
Quantitative Elements of Text
How do most readability formulas determine the
quantitative aspect of text?
– Number of syll...
How to Check Readability in Word

• What would you predict
is the readability (FleschKincaid) level of this
passage?
– 14....
What is the Readability Level of
this Passage?
Ways to calculate the Quantitative
element
Flesch-Kincaid:
• In Word 2010, click on File
• Click on Options
• Click on Pro...
Common Core Lexile Levels
Qualitative Elements of Text
• What are other
reasons this text
might be considered
difficult?
Qualitative Elements of Text
The qualitative element of text refers to factors best
assessed by a human;
• Levels of meani...
Qualitative Elements continued
• Visual device demands- types of graphics used

• And knowledge demands- does the reader h...
Qualitative Elements of Text
This is a Grade 9-10 exemplar
from the CCSS.
How would you assess it
qualitatively?
• Levels ...
Reader/Task Considerations
Reader considerations:
• Cognitive capabilities- analytical ability,
inferencing, visualization...
Reader/Task Considerations
continued
Task considerations:
• The reader’s purpose
– Skimming
– Studying

• The intended out...
Things to Consider…

Heibert, E. (2013). Supporting students’ movement up the staircase of
text complexity. The Reading Te...
Types of Texts? Genres?
Appendix A & B of the CCSS
• http://www.corestandards.org/ELALiteracy/introduction/how-to-read-the...
English Language Arts Standards »
Standard 10: Range, Quality, & Complexity » Range of Text Types for K-5
Students in K–5 ...
Grades 6-12
Let’s Try it!
We’ll use the 3 elements
Volcano!

Ben Franklin
Let’s Try it!
We’ll use the 3 elements
Quantitative Elements first:
• word length or frequency,
• sentence length,
• and t...
Evaluating text using the three
elements of text complexity
Qualitative Elements second:
• Levels of meaning or purpose,
•...
Evaluating text using the three
elements of text complexity
You Teach:
• Third Graders
• Some are below grade level
• Some...
Evaluating text using the three
elements of text complexity
Task Elements third:
• The reader’s purpose
• The intended out...
So, which book do you choose?

• Would you only select one?
OR
• Could you choose both, but use them for
different purpose...
Resources for Text Complexity
and the CCSS
 Can be found in iTunes- Common Core State Standards app

 On the Ca Dept of ...
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Text complexity cra 11.2.13

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This presentation explains the what, why and how of text complexity. The presentation was given at the Ca Reading Association Fall Conference Nov 2013.

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Text complexity cra 11.2.13

  1. 1. Text Complexity The What, the Why, and the How California Reading Association November 2, 2013 This presentation can be found on SlideShare at
  2. 2. Approaches to Reading Instruction: A quick history lesson 1500’s 1800’s McGuffey Third Reader, Junior High Level A leveled reader
  3. 3. Text Complexity- A quick history lesson 1930’s Dick and Jane A basal reader- whole word reading approach Basal Readers 1960’s-70’s Adapted text 1980’s-90’s Whole Language Child derives the text
  4. 4. Text Complexity- A quick history lesson 1990’s-2000’s Guided Reading 2000’s-2013 Anthology’s and Scripted Instruction 2014 Common Core Implementation Exemplar Texts Type of instruction?
  5. 5. Why is Text Complexity Important?
  6. 6. Common Core and Fundamental Shifts Write from Sources Build Knowledge in the Disciplines The Common Core brings a renewed focus on Text-Complexity
  7. 7. CCSS Standard 10-Text Complexity
  8. 8. What makes this difficult? Or is it?
  9. 9. Text Complexity WHAT IS IT?
  10. 10. Elements of Text Complexity
  11. 11. Quantitative Elements of Text The quantitative element of text complexity refers to factors of text that are easier for a computer to assess; • word length or frequency, • sentence length, • and text cohesion.
  12. 12. Quantitative Elements of Text How do most readability formulas determine the quantitative aspect of text? – Number of syllables in words – Number of words in sentences The dog ran home. The frisky puppy scampered toward the moss covered colonial mansion.
  13. 13. How to Check Readability in Word • What would you predict is the readability (FleschKincaid) level of this passage? – 14.2
  14. 14. What is the Readability Level of this Passage?
  15. 15. Ways to calculate the Quantitative element Flesch-Kincaid: • In Word 2010, click on File • Click on Options • Click on Proofing • Select, “show readability statistics” Other Methods: • Scholastic- you can use book wizard http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/ • Lexile- you can use the lexile analyzer http://www.lexile.com/analyzer/
  16. 16. Common Core Lexile Levels
  17. 17. Qualitative Elements of Text • What are other reasons this text might be considered difficult?
  18. 18. Qualitative Elements of Text The qualitative element of text refers to factors best assessed by a human; • Levels of meaning (literary) or purpose (informational)- surface or deeper levels • Structure- simple vs complex; i.e., sequential order vs flashbacks; simple graphics vs complex • Language conventionality and clarity- simple vs complex; conversational language vs figurative
  19. 19. Qualitative Elements continued • Visual device demands- types of graphics used • And knowledge demands- does the reader have the background experiences to relate to the text?
  20. 20. Qualitative Elements of Text This is a Grade 9-10 exemplar from the CCSS. How would you assess it qualitatively? • Levels of meaning or purpose, • Structure, • Language conventionality and clarity, • Visual device demands, • And knowledge demands
  21. 21. Reader/Task Considerations Reader considerations: • Cognitive capabilities- analytical ability, inferencing, visualization • Motivation- purpose, interest, self-efficacy • Knowledge- vocabulary and topic, comprehension strategies • Experiences
  22. 22. Reader/Task Considerations continued Task considerations: • The reader’s purpose – Skimming – Studying • The intended outcome – Increase in knowledge – A solution to some real-world problem (driver’s test) – Engagement with the text (reading for pleasure)
  23. 23. Things to Consider… Heibert, E. (2013). Supporting students’ movement up the staircase of text complexity. The Reading Teacher, 66(6).
  24. 24. Types of Texts? Genres? Appendix A & B of the CCSS • http://www.corestandards.org/ELALiteracy/introduction/how-to-read-the-standards Media Text: • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/relativit y-and-the-cosmos.html
  25. 25. English Language Arts Standards » Standard 10: Range, Quality, & Complexity » Range of Text Types for K-5 Students in K–5 apply the Reading standards to the following range of text types, with texts selected from a broad range of cultures and periods. Literature Informational Text Stories Dramas Poetry Literary Nonfiction and Historical, Scientific, and Technical Texts Includes children’s adventure stories, folktales, legends, fables, fantasy, realistic fiction, and myth Includes staged dialogue and brief familiar scenes Includes nursery rhymes and the subgenres of the narrative poem, limerick, and free verse poem Includes biographies and autobiographies; books about history, social studies, science, and the arts; technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps; and digital sources on a range of topics
  26. 26. Grades 6-12
  27. 27. Let’s Try it! We’ll use the 3 elements Volcano! Ben Franklin
  28. 28. Let’s Try it! We’ll use the 3 elements Quantitative Elements first: • word length or frequency, • sentence length, • and text cohesion. Volcano! • Quantitative: Lexile level 750L (450-790 is Grade 2-3) Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z • Quantitative: Lexile level 820L (770-980 is Grade 4-5)
  29. 29. Evaluating text using the three elements of text complexity Qualitative Elements second: • Levels of meaning or purpose, • Structure, • Language conventionality and clarity, • Visual device demands, • And knowledge demands Volcano! • • • • • Purpose- informational- straight forward message Structure- common informational text structure; easy to read graphic, supplemental to understanding Language- moderate with regard to vocab; clear Visual device- maps (depends on student and grade) Knowledge demands- moderate Ben Franklin • • • • • Purpose- informational- explicit purpose Structure- not a common format, pictures aid in understanding Language- difficult with regard to vocab. Format is also unconventional. Visual device- no graphs or charts Knowledge demands- moderate
  30. 30. Evaluating text using the three elements of text complexity You Teach: • Third Graders • Some are below grade level • Some are on grade level • Some are language learners • Some are English Only • A few have been assessed as gifted Reader Elements third: • Cognitive capabilities • Motivation • Knowledge • Experiences Volcano! • • • • Appropriate for a reader who can comprehend explicit grade 3 text. Needs a student who is interested in informational text, particularly science and other peoples. Reader needs some knowledge of maps, the topic and comprehension strategies (sequential order, cause and effect). The reader would needs some background knowledge of earthquakes, people from other lands… Ben Franklin • • • • Appropriate for a reader who can comprehend grade 4-5 text. Needs a student who is interested in history and new word meanings and where words and sayings derive from. Reader needs some knowledge of how to follow unfamiliar text structure and comprehension strategies (using context). The reader would need some background knowledge of US Presidents, the Revolutionary War, and colonial times.
  31. 31. Evaluating text using the three elements of text complexity Task Elements third: • The reader’s purpose • The intended outcome For both books: • You would like to use for guided reading • You want to focus on comprehension of informational text, sequencing in particular.
  32. 32. So, which book do you choose? • Would you only select one? OR • Could you choose both, but use them for different purposes?
  33. 33. Resources for Text Complexity and the CCSS  Can be found in iTunes- Common Core State Standards app  On the Ca Dept of Ed website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/ The Common Core State Standards website: http://www.corestandards.org/resources

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