- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: International Reading Association; 60389th edition (April 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0872074781
- ISBN-13: 978-0872074781
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading 60389th Edition
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''Close'' reading of this text will reward educators with the most insightful, information-rich, and practical foundation and perspective on text complexity available to date. In the context of the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts, the authors provide (1) a masterful synthesis of traditional and more contemporary research exploring those factors in the text, the context, and the reader that contribute to the complexity of any text; and (2) substantive, practical instructional applications that will lead to the types of deep and consequential student engagements with texts for which educators have always strived. --Shane Templeton, Foundation Professor Emeritus of Literacy Studies, University of Nevada, Reno
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In the Forward, Thomas Gunning says:
“Perhaps one of the mistakes in the past efforts to improve reading achievement has been the removal of struggle. As a profession, we might have made reading tasks too easy.”
The Common Core Standards adopted by many states require the reading skills needed for both college and jobs. This book will help teachers “who aren't sure what qualifies as complex text” to select those texts needed to meet those standards.
This book follows up on the works of John Bormuth (1969), Lev Vigotsky (1978), and Chall and Conard, "Should Textbooks Challenge Students? The Case for Easier or Harder Textbooks" (1991).
They all wrote that optimum difficulty should be a little above the students’ actual level of development and not below. Called assisted or guided reading, it should always include input from teachers or peers and include “scaffolding” such as before-and-after discussions, clues, and questions that stimulate and support comprehension.
The authors describe two methods needed to assess text complexity, quantitative and qualitative.
The chapter on quantitative methods discusses the history and use of the readability formulas. Most of the popular ones use the length of words and sentences to provide a complexity score.
While the authors admit the well-known limitations of the readability formulas, they admit there is a “good foundation for their use.” While the formulas provide no information on qualitative features of text such as tone, purpose, organization, or content, they do assess the “surface features” of text that affect the reader's initial contact.
But once a readability formula has provided a numeric “ballpark score,” the hard work of qualitative assessment begins. The third chapter discusses considerate texts, meaning and purpose, structure, clarity, language usage, and knowledge demands.
The fourth chapter takes up the problem of matching the complexity of the text with the reader’s level of reading skill, prior knowledge, expectations, and motivation.
The last chapter describes in detail the process of close reading and the levels of understanding a reader should experience in reading a complex text.
While the authors provide teachers with practical instructions and examples, they admit qualitative assessment is quite complex and "a lot to keep in mind." But they urge teachers to shoulder the task and provide individual readers with the assistance they need to comprehend complex texts.
Reading is always an interactive activity between the text and the reader.
One wishes, however, that the practical suggestions were aimed at different levels of reading ability. How, for example, does a teacher assess the prior knowledge or motivation of a 7th-grade reader?
And, as a practical measure, how is the teacher to organize these assessment efforts and assist all the students of a class?
They insist that the teacher's direct involvement with the reader is needed for optimal learning.
As the authors state:
“When reading any passage, a student builds meaning in collaboration with the author. Until that occurs, an assessment of a text’s complexity is not yet fully realized. The reader is the key ingredient to this formula.”
This book does a great job explaining complex concepts in an easy to read format. When they talked about all the different measures to measure text readability I didn't have to reread the text to understand their explanations. Also this text has a many meaningful charts and graphics that add to the text. So after reading the chapter on measures of text readability there was a chart at the end of the chapter to summarize each measure.
This is a book I'd definitely keep after the class is over.