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Monday, June 24, 2013

Common Core Literature Standard 10

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Reading 10 (CCRA.R.10) sums up all other reading standards by stating that students should be able to "read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently."

The overarching reading standard is translated to this phrase for each intermediate grade's literature standard: "By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the _____ text complexity band proficiency..." Here, the Common Core directs teachers to challenge their students with complex (but appropriate) texts.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'd like to share some information form my March 16th post, "CCSS: Measuring Text Complexity: Three Factors." CCRA.R.10 deals with range, quality, and complexity. Three factors to measuring text complexity are suggested: qualitative evaluation of the text, quantitative evaluation of the text, and matching reader to text and task. To me, this is the starting point when choosing a novel for my class. The CCSS gives me clear guidance in selecting text at an appropriate and challenging level.

supplementary document provides a much more detailed information and examples on choosing an appropriate text. Section IV, "Key Considerations in Implementing Text Complexity," has been most helpful to me. It details four important points:
  1. Look at quantitative measures first. Numeric values such as those provided by the Lexile Framework help teachers pinpoint texts with appropriate sentence lengths, word frequency, and so on.
  2. Analyze the text qualitatively. Think about the book's structure, clarity, language conventionality, knowledge demands, levels of purpose, etc. 
  3. Qualitative considerations will sometimes "trump" quantitative measures. For example, a novel written in a straightforward, conventional style is much easier than a novel requiring constance inference or written in archaic language.
  4. These measures don't always work for every text. Poetry and drama, for example, are difficult to analyze for sentence length and word frequency.
While all of the standards are important, this standard helps us raise the bar on the texts we select for our students to read. As I mentioned in my June 13th blog, "The Importance of Struggling in Reading," kids need to read above their comfort level in order to grow as readers. In a brief video (1:42), Dr. Timothy Shanahan discusses the use of complex texts in the classroom. He points out that ramping up the reading level will bring challenges not only for students, but for teachers too.

How has your reading list changed due to Standard 10? What new challenges have you faced? I discussed much of this in my March blogs, now I'd love to hear how it's impacting you.