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Common Core State Standards

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The Common Core State Standards is the first effort by American states (43 to date) to set the same goals for student learning. Within the standards, explicit text levels are given across the grades to ensure that high school graduates are college and career ready. Beginning with the grade 2-3 band, target text levels have increased from previous recommendations. The Standards provide little guidance, however, on how to support the many students who struggle with current grade-level texts. TextProject has responded rapidly to this need with research-based resources that will guide and inform educators, parents, and community leaders.

Featured Resources

Benchmark Texts: Stepping Up Complexity

Benchmark Texts: Stepping Up Complexity

Adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents the first time that explicit complexity levels have been set for grade-level texts. The Standards give little guidance for how to support the many students who struggle to read complex texts. TextProject is responding to this need with research-based resources to guide educators in identifying appropriate texts for struggling readers.

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Reading Research Report #10.01

An Examination of Current Text Difficulty Indices with Early Reading Texts

This report examines the difficulty of early reading texts over the years as measured by today's prevailing indices.

Hiebert, E.H. & Pearson, P.D. (2010). An Examination of Current Text Difficulty Indices with Early Reading Texts (Reading Research Report 10.01). Santa Cruz, CA: TextProject, Inc.

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Reading Research Report #11.03

Using Multiple Sources of Information in Establishing Text Complexity

The Common Core State Standards/English Language Arts use Lexiles as the single measure of text complexity, but an analysis using the two component measures of Lexiles along with a third measure suggests that conclusions about text complexity vary considerably when multiple quantitative measures are used, rather than a single, omnibus index.

Hiebert, E.H. (2011). Using Multiple Sources of Information in Establishing Text Complexity (Reading Research Report 11.03). Santa Cruz, CA: TextProject, Inc.

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Text Matters

The Text Complexity Multi-Index

The Text Complexity Multi-Index (TCMI) is a process for matching texts with students. The process attends to all three dimensions that were recommended by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS Initiative, 2011) for selecting texts: (a) quantitative, (b) qualitative, and (c) reader-text match. Qualitative measures are of two types: comparison with a set of benchmark texts and a scheme for analyzing core traits of texts. The two types of qualitative measures mean that the TCMI process has four steps.

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Text Matters

7 Actions that Teachers Can Take Right Now: Text Complexity

A separate standard for text complexity in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) means that this feature of reading development is at the center of many conversations among educators. How this standard translates into classroom instruction is less clear. Even with current texts, teachers can take some important actions to support their students on the staircase of text complexity—right now!

Other Resources

Virtual Institute on Assessment and the Common Core

Article

2 July 2013

View recordings of the chief architect of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (David Coleman), leaders in national assessment and reform efforts (P. David Pearson, Peter Afflerbach, & Karen Wixson), and leaders in national projects on the assessment and instruction of English Learners (David Francis & Kenji Hakuta). Recorded on April 19, 2013, at IRA 2013 Institute 19.

Looking “Within” the Lexile for More Guidance: Word Frequency and Sentence Length

Frankly Freddy Post

24 January 2011

Teachers should use the lexile rating as an initial piece of information, much like a check of someone’s temperature. A temperature can be high or low for lots of different reasons. The average sentence length and average word frequency gives teachers more specific information that is useful for decision-making.

Is Reading in Kindergarten the Means for Ensuring College and Career Readiness?

Frankly Freddy Post

3 August 2011

The inclusion of kindergarten in the CCSS about text difficulty represents an implicit assumption about beginning reading that also requires consideration—that earlier is better. Does beginning reading in kindergarten truly ensure that high school graduates are better at reading the complex texts of careers and college? In this essay, I review research on both the explicit and implicit assumptions within the CCSS regarding formal reading instruction in kindergarten: the dumbing down of kindergarten texts and the pushing down of reading instruction to kindergarten.

Teaching Complex Text: Why Look at Word Frequency?

Frankly Freddy Post

21 June 2012

Dr. Hiebert explores the relationship between a text's word frequency number and the Lexile number.

The View of Text Complexity within the Common Core State Standards

Presentation

9 December 2010

Hiebert, E.H. (December 9, 2010). The view of text complexity within the Common Core State Standards: What does it mean for struggling readers? Keynote presentation at the annual conference of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel, FL

From the Vantage Point of Struggling Readers

Presentation

10 May 2011

Presentation slides from E.H. Hiebert's presentation at NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA, 2011.

Presented at the NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA, 2011.  Orlando, Florida.  May 10, 2011.

The Role of Text in Developing Reading Fluency and Comprehension UPDATED VERSION

Presentation

25 October 2010

Dr. Freddy Hiebert discussed why text matters in developing reading fluency. Texts that contain too many difficult words frustrate beginning readers. This presentation examined key features in texts that support fluency and comprehension. Dr. Hiebert also closely examined the texts in core reading programs to highlight the need for texts that increase reading fluency and comprehension. This updated version of the presentation includes an explanation of how QuickReads fits in with the Common Core Standards.

Hiebert, E.H. (October 25, 2010). The role of text in developing reading fluency and comprehension. Presentation to educators at Pearsoned.com.

What's Core from the Vantage Point of Science Content

Presentation

10 May 2011

Conference slides for J. Barber's presentation at the NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA 2011.

Presented at the NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA 2011.  Orlando, Florida.  May 10, 2011

ELA-CCSS: What is the core content

Presentation

10 May 2011

Conference slides for K. Wixson at the NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA 2011.

Presented at the NCRLL - Implementing the Common Core State Standards: Getting to the core session at IRA 2011.  Orlando, Florida.  May 10, 2011.

Taking 7 Actions to Build Student Capacity With Complex Text

Presentation

26 October 2012

PowerPoint slides from Freddy's breakout presentation at the Scholastic Book Summit, October 22, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia

Taking 7 Actions to Build Student Capacity With Complex Text. Breakout presentation by Elfrieda H. Hiebert at the Scholastic Book Summit 2012 "The New Common Core State Standards Literacy Block" October 22, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.

ELA-CCSS: Text Complexity in Upper Elementary Grades

Presentation

17 March 2011

Karen Wixson, former dean of the School of Education at Univerisity of Michigan, presented at the 2011 Michigan Reading Association.  Her presentation ELA-CCSS: Text Complexity in Upper Elementary Grades, is available here for download.

Text Complexity and the Common Core State Standards

Presentation

26 October 2012

PowerPoint slides from Freddy's presentation at the California Reading Association, October 20, 2012 in San Diego, California

Text Complexity and the Common Core State Standards: A Quick View. Presentation by Elfrieda H. Hiebert at the California Reading Association's 45th Annual Professional Development Institute, October 20, 2012 in San Diego, California.

Inside Text Complexity

Presentation

26 October 2012

PowerPoint slides from Freddy's keynote presentation at the Scholastic Book Summit, October 22, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia

Inside Text Complexity: Its Role in Meeting the Common Core State Standards. Keynote presentation by Elfrieda H. Hiebert at the Scholastic Book Summit 2012 "The New Common Core State Standards Literacy Block" October 22, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Common Core State Standard of Text Complexity

Presentation

22 February 2011

Standard 10 of the Common Core State Standards focuses on increasing students’ capacity with complex text across the school years to ensure that they are able to read the texts of higher education and careers. The goal is an important one but educators are faced with numerous challenges. How should text complexity be established? What are the best ways to increase students’ capacity, especially the students who are challenged by grade-level texts. Answers to these questions are the focus of this presentation.

Hiebert, E.H. (February 22, 2011). The Common Core State Standard of text complexity: What does it mean? How can we make it happen? Presentation at Common Core Virtual Conference (http://commoncore.pearsoned.com).

Looking "within" the Lexile for more guidance

Presentation

8 February 2011

The Common Core State Standards are complex and include a multitude of features that are aimed at moving American students to a higher levels of literacy in the digital-global world of the 21st century. When faced with a change—especially one where there is a great deal at stake and that involves complexity—an initial response often is to hang our hats on what can be done—quickly and efficiently.

Hiebert, E.H. (February 8, 2011). Looking “within” the Lexile for more guidance: Word frequency & sentence length.  Presentation to State Council Leaders of the International Reading Association. Retrieved on May 5, 2011, from IRA.

Contrasting Views of How to Increase Capacity for Complex Text: The Common Core State Standards and Jeanne Chall

Presentation

17 April 2012

Slides from Dr. Hiebert's AERA 2012 presentation.

The Common Core State Standards and Text Complexity

Research Article

5 May 2011

This chapter explores the concept of text complexity and how it is addressed in the Common Core State Standards.

Hiebert, E.H. (2012).  The Common Core State Standards and text complexity.  In M. Hougen & S. Smartt (Eds.), Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction and Assessment, Pre-K–6. (pp. 111-120).  Baltimore, MD:  Paul Brookes Publishing.

Understanding the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

Research Article

22 September 2011

Wixson, K.K., 2011. Understanding the common core state standards for english language arts. Pearson Education, Inc.  Retrieved on September 26, 2011 from: http://commoncore.pearsoned.com/index.cfm?locator=PS11T9

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The CCSS Text Exemplars: Understanding Their Aims and Use in Text Selection

Research Article

6 February 2013

Article published in Reading Today, 30(3).

Hiebert, E.H. (2013). The CCSS Text Exemplars: Understanding Their Aims and Use in Text Selection. Reading Today, 30(3), 6-7.

For the CCSS Assessments and Beyond

Research Article

7 November 2013

In the frenzy over ensuring that classroom texts are complex enough, little attention has been paid to the contexts in which students’ reading of these complex texts will be assessed. A key distinction between assessment and instruction is what students are asked to do with texts.

Hiebert, E.H. (2013). For the CCSS Assessments and Beyond: Develop Your Students' Stamina for Grappling with Complex Texts. Reading Today, 31(2), p18-19.

7 Actions Teachers Can Take to Increase Students' Capacity with Complex Text

Resource

16 February 2012

What are seven things teachers can do in their class to get their students ready for the CCSS?

Common Core State Standards Webinar Series

TextProject Presents

31 December 2013

Text Complexity and the Common Core: Moving into Action With Confidence

Webinar

28 November 2012

Archived recording of Freddy's November 28, 2012 webinar: Text Complexity and the Common Core: Moving into Action With Confidence.

77 sec on Text Complexity: What are good books to use with beginning readers?

Webinar

7 March 2013

Freddy talks about features to look for in books to use with beginning readers.

77 sec on Text Complexity: What Makes A Text Complex?

Webinar

14 March 2013

Freddy talks about a feature of text that makes it difficult for the reader.

77sec on Text Complexity: What is the Difference Between Accessible and Dumbed-down Texts?

Webinar

21 March 2013

Freddy talks about three key features that are seen in dumbed-down texts.

The Common Core State Standards: What Does it Mean? How Can We Make it Happen?

Webinar

13 March 2012

A recording of the Feb. 28, 2012 webinar hosted by Pearson Learning.

77 sec on Text Complexity: What is Core Vocabulary?

YouTube Video

7 January 2013

Freddy presents 77 seconds on core vocabulary. What is it and how can the words be organized to help students read complex text?

Other Resources