Text Complexity – Ideas from ASCD

This new post from ASCD, The Challenge of Challenging Text (Shanahan, Fisher, Frey (March 2012) identifies several factors contributing to the complexity of written text:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Sentence Structure
  3. Coherence
  4. Organization
  5. Background Knowledge

Rest assured, the authors also address teaching strategies: build skills; establish purpose; foster motivation and persistence.

Text complexity is a key element of College and Career Anchor Standards for Reading in the Common Core State Standards.

“To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts.”

Other instructional strategies that can be effectively used to help students learn how to tackle demanding texts can be found at St. Clair County RESA’s Common Core webpage.

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