The Common Core State Standards represent a collaboration by American states 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.
Visit our Pinterest board on Common Core State Standards for an overview of our resources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
21 June 2012
Dr. Hiebert explores the relationship between a text's word frequency number and the Lexile number.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
17 April 2012
Slides from Dr. Hiebert's AERA 2012 presentation.
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.
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
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.
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.
16 February 2012
What are seven things teachers can do in their class to get their students ready for the CCSS?
28 November 2012
Archived recording of Freddy's November 28, 2012 webinar: Text Complexity and the Common Core: Moving into Action With Confidence.
7 March 2013
Freddy talks about features to look for in books to use with beginning readers.
14 March 2013
Freddy talks about a feature of text that makes it difficult for the reader.
21 March 2013
Freddy talks about three key features that are seen in dumbed-down texts.
13 March 2012
A recording of the Feb. 28, 2012 webinar hosted by Pearson Learning.
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.
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?