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WHY ARE EXPOSITORY TEXTS DIFFICULT? Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky © 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "WHY ARE EXPOSITORY TEXTS DIFFICULT? Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky © 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHY ARE EXPOSITORY TEXTS DIFFICULT? Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky © 2011

2 For Further Information Contact: The information contained within the following presentation was developed by: Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. University of Kentucky

3 Why Is Expository Text Structure Difficult? © 2011 Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky We dont have a lot of informational texts in our classrooms We dont provide explicit instruction to teach children how to read these structures Authors signal text structure in varied ways: Introductory paragraphs, sentences, or headings to signal structure Explicit connectives (cue words) to create reader friendly texts Implicit connectives create unfriendly texts

4 5/28/2014Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Why are Expository Texts Hard? Publishing companies rely on readability formulas to determine the difficulty of their texts Readability of expository texts is generally very high Informational texts have many polysyllabic content words e.g., photosynthesis Fry, E. (2002). Readability versus leveling. The Reading Teacher 56(3)

5 Why are Expository Texts Hard? © 2011Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Spiders are not insects. They belong to a group of animals called arachnids. Arachnids have eight legs. Insects have only six. Arachnids do not have wings. Insects do. Spiders use hairs on their bodies to sense the world around them. Insects sense things with feelers, called antennae, that grow on their heads (pp. 6-10). Comparison structure implied

6 Why are Expository Texts Hard? (Revised Version of Spiders are not Insects) Many people think spiders are insects. However, they are not. They belong to a group of animals called arachnids. Spiders differ from insects in many ways. Spiders have eight legs, whereas insects have only six. Spiders do not have wings. However, insects do. Spiders use hairs on their bodies to sense the world around them. In contrast, insects sense things with feelers, called antennae, that grow on their heads. Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky © 2011

7 Average Number of Syllables per 100 Words = original text = revised text (52 words) (69 words) Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky © graph-readability-formula.php

8 A Sample Lesson Preparing Students to Read Expository Text

9 Sample Lesson: Problem/Solution © 2011 Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Examine photographs Describe what you notice about each photograph Think about what problems might exist Think about possible solutions Freedman, R. (1983). Children of the wild west. New York, NY: Clarion Books

10 Children of the Wild West Freedman, R. (1983). Children of the wild west. New York, NY: Clarion Books 5/28/2014Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Three girls on their arrival at an Indian boarding school in 1878 (Freedman, 1983, p. 54)

11 Children of the Wild West Freedman, R. (1983). Children of the wild west. New York, NY: Clarion Books 5/28/2014Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky The same girls fourteen months later (Freedman, 1983, p. 55)

12 Sample Lesson: Problem/Solution © 2011 Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Indian exiled territory poverty treaties traditional ways ignored U.S. Government settle down Problem Solution Problem Solution Problem Solution

13 Sample Lesson: Problem/Solution 2011Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky Rearrange word cards on your organizer as you read to see how well your predictions matched the authors ideas

14 Sample Lesson: Problem/Solution 2011Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky During the 1850s, Indian tribes were persuaded or forced to give up more and more of their territory. In return, the United States government signed hundreds of treaties setting aside reservations for the exclusive use of the tribes. The government also promised to pay the Indians for the loss of their lands. But often the treaties were ignored and the promises forgotten. Many Indians found themselves exiled to isolated reservations where they could no longer hunt and live freely as they had in the past. For them, life on the reservation meant poverty and despair.

15 Sample Lesson: Problem/Solution © 2011 Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky All along, the Indians were being urged to give up their traditional ways, to exchange their bows and arrows for the white mans plow. On some reservations, the United States government offered to build brick houses if the Indians would agree to settle down and live as the white man said they should. Many Indians used the brick houses for storage and continued to live in their familiar tipis. Some began to wear the clothing of the white man. Others clung to their traditional Indian robes. from Freedman, R. (1983). Children of the Wild West (p. 49). New York: Clarion Books.

16 Adolescent Literacy Janice F. Almasi, Ph.D. Carol Lee Robertson Endowed Professor of Literacy University of Kentucky

17 Percent of Arkansas 12th Graders Meeting College Readiness Benchmarks in Reading 2011 Source: ACT 2011 Profile Report: Arkansas. n = 27,020

18 Percentage of Arkansas 12th Graders Meeting College Readiness Standards in Reading by Ethnicity in 2011 Source: ACT 2011 Profile Report: Arkansas.

19 Recommendations 1 1. Provide Explicit Vocabulary Instruction 2. Provide Explicit Comprehension Strategy Instruction* 3. Provide Opportunities for Extended Discussion of Text, Meaning and Interpretation* 4. Increase Student Motivation and Engagement in Literacy Learning* 5. Provide Individualized Interventions for Struggling Readers that can be Provided by Trained Specialists Source: Kamil, M. L., Borman, G. G., Dole, J., Kral, C. C., Salinger, T., & Torgesen, J. (2008). Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices: A Practice Guide (NCEE # ). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

20 Recommendations 2 1. Provide Explicit Instruction in Using Effective Comprehension Strategies* 2. Increase the Amount and Quality of Open, Sustained Discussion of Reading Content* 3. Set and Maintain High Standards for Text, Conversation, Questions, and Vocabulary 4. Increase Students Motivation and Engagement with Reading* 5. Teach Essential Content Knowledge Source: Torgesen, J. K., Houston, D. D., Rissman, L. M., Decker, S. M., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Francis, D. J., Rivera, M. O., & Lesaux, N. (2007). Academic literacy instruction for adolescents: A guidance document from the Center on Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

21 Common Recommendations 1. Provide Explicit Instruction in Comprehension Strategies Instruction 2. Provide Opportunities for Extended Discussion of Texts 3. Increase Students Motivation and Engagement for Literacy 4. Set and Maintain High Standards for Text, Conversation, Questions,and Vocabulary 5. Teach Essential Content Knowledge 4. Provide Explicit Vocabulary Instruction 5. Provide Interventions for Struggling Readers Given by Trained Specialists IES Practice Guide (Kamil et al., 2008) COI (Torgesen et al., 2007) Janice F. Almasi, University of Kentucky © 2011

22 What Distinguishes Students Who are College Ready in Reading from those Who Are Not? Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

23 A challenging core curriculum? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

24 Ability to Answer Literal Questions?? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

25 Ability to Answer Inferential Questions? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

26 Ability to Identify Main Idea ? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

27 Ability to Identify Supporting Details? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

28 Ability to Identify Relationships in Text? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

29 Ability to Identify Meanings of Words? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

30 Ability to Draw Conclusions? NO Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

31 So What does Distinguish Students Who are College Ready in Reading from those Who Are Not? Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author

32 Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author. Text Complexity!

33 What is Text Complexity? Relationships: Interactions among ideas or characters in the text are subtle, involved or deeply embedded Richness: The text possesses a sizable amount of highly sophisticated information conveyed through data or literary devices Structure: The text is organized in ways that are elaborate and sometimes unconventional Style: The authors tone and use of language are often intricate Vocabulary: The authors choice of words is demanding and highly context dependent Purpose: The authors intent in writing the text is implicit and sometimes ambiguous Source: ACT, Inc. (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa City, IA: Author.


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