Post for the week of September 10, 2012
One big issue that has come up with the Common Core is the idea of text complexity. Text complexity refers to the difficulty of the texts students are reading.
Currently, students are under-prepared for the reading they have to do in college and career: it's too long, dense, complex, etc. If we build a "staircase of complexity" (providing appropriately challenging reading for students K-12), they will be better prepared for what they will face.
The promotion of a discussion of "text complexity" does NOT mean Moby Dick should be taught in 7th grade. It DOES mean that we need to be more deliberate in our text choices. Leveling texts is out; the new thinking is that teachers should scaffold their instruction so that ALL students (ELL students, those below the grade level reading, etc.) can have access to complex texts and rigorous instruction.
For more information on text complexity, see the following sources:
http://lexile.com/using-lexile/lexile-measures-and-the-ccssi/defining-text-complexity/ (lexile.com allows you to enter a book and see the lexile level and how it matches current Common Core lexile levels)
http://lexile.com/using-lexile/lexile-measures-and-the-ccssi/text-complexity-grade-bands-and-lexile-ranges/ (lexile grade bands for the Common Core)
http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english-language-arts-standards/standard-10-range-quality-and-complexity-6-12/texts-illustrating-the-complexity-quality-and-range-of-student-reading-6-12/ (a list of books that meet the lexile levels)
http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf (Appendix A, where lexiles are discussed)
http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf (Appendix B, lists of grade-level appropriate texts)