Getting Started with Questions of Text Complexity

Issues related to the use of challenging texts span across the disciplines.

Many groups associated with the National Center for Literacy Education and from across the 30+ stakeholder organizations are wrestling with varied aspects of student success with complex texts. While some strategies and questions are appropriate for any discipline, other strategies and questions will be discipline specific. Regardless, we have much to learn from one another.

These resources are meant to be starting points for digging into the topic of text complexity.

Before you begin:

  • Use evidence to name a key question that will lead to strengthened teaching and learning.
     
  • Establish a set of steps toward addressing the question, perhaps incorporating one or more of the resources below.
     
  • Use templates such as NCLE's Inquiry Guide and tools such as the Questions that Matter Primer for formalizing this process.

Sample Questions

How do we ensure that all students are appropriately challenged by the texts used for instruction?

What strategies do students need to independently learn from increasingly complex texts?

How do we strengthen our students' abilities to draw upon multiple texts to make and support claims?

How do experts read and understand texts differently, depending on the discipline and purpose?

Consider the following to begin digging into questions of text complexity:

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