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CCSS and Complex Text... How? PDF Print E-mail

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I'm sure you've seen the new Common Core State Standards Lexile Chart from the first article.

I'm sure you've already asked several questions about the new Lexile Ranges. 
One that comes to mind is... How?

How are my students expected to comprehend text at this new challenging level?

How can I help my struggling readers to have access to the complex text required by the CCSS?

Accelerating Struggling Readers

Dr. Timothy Shanahan begins the video above by saying that there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that keeping a struggling reader in an easier text will provide opportunities for great growth. Matching a text to the student’s reading level ALONE may not be enough to move him or her to the next level.

In a blog post from August 2011, Dr. Timothy Shanahan writes,

Instructional level theory posits that the text difficulty level relative to the student reading level is the important factor in learning. But that ignores the guidance, support, and scaffolding provided by the teacher.

If the teacher is doing little to support the students’ transactions with text then I suspect more learning will accrue with somewhat easier texts. However, if reasonable levels of instructional support are available then students are likely to thrive when working with harder texts.

supports quote

A Real Pivot

In the video clip above, Dr. Shanahan discusses a “real pivot” in approach to teaching challenging text. The CCSS is requiring students to read increasingly complex text at higher Lexile levels. What kind of supports must a teacher have in order to ensure students’ success?

For one, you will need to become intimately familiar with the kinds of things that can make a particular text complex for your students. Only with that knowledge can the correct scaffolding be utilized. The focus shifts to addressing the ways that students can access the specific text. The skills and strategy instruction becomes the means—not the end—for students to use to extract meaning from the text.

So… Will you shift the focus of instruction as you help your students to access complex text?

If so, how will you shift your approach in teaching students to read and comprehend text at the new Lexile levels?


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Use the hashtag #complextext.

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