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A Case for Complexity. Research Findings Reading demands in college, career, and life have generally held steady or increased over the last fifty years.

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Presentation on theme: "A Case for Complexity. Research Findings Reading demands in college, career, and life have generally held steady or increased over the last fifty years."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Case for Complexity

2 Research Findings Reading demands in college, career, and life have generally held steady or increased over the last fifty years while k-12 texts have declined in complexty across grades since 1962

3 Research Findings Current standards have not done enough to foster independent reading of complex texts— especially informational texts. Currently, only 7- 15% of reading in elementary and middle school is expository even though research has concluded such text is more difficult for most students than narrative style.

4 Research Findings High school graduates who are poor readers tend to struggle to succeed. AND…the problem with lack of reading is not only getting worse but at an accelerated rate.

5 Research Findings Reading occupies only about 2% of class time in most high schools.

6 Research Findings The differentiating factor for those students earning a ACT score was their ability to read complex texts.

7 WHAT ARE COMPLEX TEXTS? Texts that offer new language, new knowledge, and new modes of thought

8 How is complexity measured?

9 Qualitative Those aspects only measurable by an informed and trained judgment to the task.

10 Qualitative Levels of Meaning or Purpose Single level if meaning  Complex Explicitly stated purpose  Implicit purpose (hidden or obscure).

11 Qualitative Structure Simple structure  Complex Chronological  Flashback Conventional  Unconventional Simple graphics  Complicated graphics Supplementary graphics  Essential graphics for understanding Language Conventions and Clarity Literal  Figurative Clear  Misleading or ambiguous Familiar  Archaic Conversational  Academic

12 Qualitative Knowledge Demands: Life Experiences (Literary Texts) Simple theme  Complex theme Single theme  Multiple themes Common experiences  unfamiliar experiences Single perspective  Multiple perspectives Perspectives similar to own  Perspectives in opposition to one’s own

13 Qualitative Knowledge Demands: Cultural and Literary Knowledge Everyday knowledge  Cultural and literary knowledge Few allusions  Many allusions

14 Qualitative Knowledge Demands: Content Knowledge (Informational Texts) Everyday knowledge  Content- specific knowledge Few references or citations to other texts  Many references to other texts

15 Quantitative Those aspects of text complexity, such as word length or frequency, sentence length, and text cohesion typically measured by computer software or readability tests such as Frye, Raygor, Smog, Dale-Chall, Flesch, et al

16 Reader and Task Those aspects essential to the task or the reader. This is determined by teacher judgment, experience, and knowledge of students and subject.

17 Reader and Task Motivation (a purpose for reading, interest in the content, self-efficacy) Knowledge (vocabulary, topic, linguistics, comprehension strategies) Skill and Experience Task related variables (reader’s purpose which could shift, skimming, studying) Intended outcome (increase knowledge, solution to problem, engagement with text).

18 Reader and Task Motivation (a purpose for reading, interest in the content, self-efficacy) Knowledge (vocabulary, topic, linguistics, comprehension strategies) Skill and Experience Task related variables (reader’s purpose which could shift, skimming, studying) Intended outcome (increase knowledge, solution to problem, engagement with text).

19 GRA DE Reading Standard K Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding. 1 With prompting and support, read prose and poetry (informational texts) of appropriate complexity for grade 1. 2 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts) in the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiency, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. 3 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts) at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently. 4 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts) in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiency, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. 5 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts) at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently. 6 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiency, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. 7 8 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiency By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) in the grades text complexity band proficiency, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) at the high end of grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiency, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literature (informational texts, history/social studies texts, science/technical texts) at the high end of grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently. Text complexity in the standards is defined in grade bands (2-3, 4- 5, 6-8, 9-10, and 11-CCR). Students in the first year of a given band are expected by the end of the year to read and comprehend within the band (may include scaffolding at the high end of the range). Students in the last year of a band are expected by the end of the year to read and comprehend independently and proficiently within the band.

20 Text Exemplars Grades K-1 from Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (1971) “Here are some flower seeds. Plant them in the ground,” said Frog, “and soon you will have a garden.” “How soon?” asked Toad. “Quite soon,” said Frog.

21 Grades 2-3 from The Raft by Jim LaMarche (2000) “Ahead of me, through the fog, I saw two deer moving across the river, a doe and a fawn. When they reached the shore, the doe leaped easily up the steep bank, then turned to wait for her baby. But the fawn was in trouble. It kept slipping down the muddy bank. The doe returned to the water to help, but the more the fawn struggled, the deeper it got stuck in the mud.”

22 Grades 4-5 f rom Volcanoes by Seymour Simon (2006) “In early times, no one knew how volcanoes formed or why they spouted red-hot molten rock. In modern times, scientists began to study volcanoes. They still didn’t know all the answers, but they know much about how a volcano works. Our planet is made up of many layers of rock. The top layers of solid rock are called the crust. Deep beneath the crust is the mantle, where it is so hot that some rock melts. The melted, or molten, rock is called magma.

23 Grades 6-8 from “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag” by Henry Petroski (2003) “The geometry of paper bags continues to hold a magical appeal for those of us who are fascinated by how ordinary things are designed and made. Originally, grocery bags were created on demand by storekeepers, who cut, folded, and pasted sheets of paper, making versatile containers into which purchases could be loaded for carrying home. The first paper bags manufactured commercially are said to have been made in Bristol, England, in the 1840’s.

24 Grades 9-10 from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury “It was a pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black.

25 Grades 11-CCR from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes In short, his wits being quite gone, he hit upon the strangest notion that ever madman in this world hit upon, and that was that he fancied it was right and requisite, as well for the support of his own honour as for the service of his country, that he should make a knight-errant of himself, roaming the world over in full armour and on horseback in quest of adventures, and putting in practice himself all that he had read of as being the usual practices of knights-errant; righting every kind of wrong, and exposing himself to peril and danger from which, in the issue, he was to reap eternal renown and fame. Already the poor man saw himself crowned by the might of his arm Emperor of Trebizond at least; and so, led away by the intense enjoyment he found in these pleasant fancies, he set himself forthwith to put his scheme into execution. from Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854) I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner…


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