Common Core State Standards Focus on Text Complexity
Researchers have learned that the ability to understand complex texts is the most crucial skill to predict long-term outcomes such as remaining in college and maintaining a high GPA. Now comes the hard part: What can educators do to make sure students can handle more difficult reading?
In her Education Update article "It's Complicated," author Laura Varlas begins by focusing on two of the areas that experts believe cause students the most difficulty: vocabulary and complicated sentences. She writes that teachers need to break down the steps to teach students how to do a close reading. As Jay McTighe says, "You can teach students to notice and understand the function of text structures like headings, bullets, bold type, sidebars, and chapter organization."
The article outlines several strategies, including having students ask questions of the text, before moving on to another crucial finding: Teachers need to stop students from constantly interjecting their personal impressions of complex texts. Varlas explains why this "text-to-self" phenomenon is not part of the Common Core State Standards and how teachers can help students refrain from doing it too often.
Read the full article.
ASCD Express, Vol. 8, No. 5. Copyright 2012 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.