Standards 1, 10:
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
These are the “running record” standards — the basics of understanding exactly what the text says — and to read grade-level texts proficiently.
How do we know the complexity of a text? Qualitative measures provide a way to best decide this through an analysis of meaning structure, language conventions and clarity, and knowledge demands. Judge the text complexity by looking at how the text provides access to meaning through its structure; is the meaning explicit or implicit? Is the structure conventional? Is the language literal, figurative, discipline-specific? Is the knowledge expected general or specialized? CCSS has suggests the Lexile measure combined with qualitative analysis. In addition, the CCSS also acknowledge prior knowledge and motivation as factors to text understanding.
What is expected for literal comprehension? It’s what one would expect: does the student understand what the text actually says and infers? Our focus last year on ABC response to questions did just that: A – Answer the question. B- Back it up with evidence from the story. C- Conclude with your main evidence. Be sure to read across the CCSS grade levels to understand what was expected in previous grade levels; the previous is embedded in the current grade level. Close reading of complex texts is expected. Students need to be able to (in literary and informational texts) understand how the idea or literary element develops throughout the text, from beginning to end. They need to recognize patterns and connect the details to the whole of the text.
What is required of the teacher?
I need to assess where students are (running records throughout the year) and move them up the levels of text complexity. It should be noted that the work of Fountas and Pinnell match the CCSS literary complexity. I need to match students to books, guiding them to move up the levels of complexity by helping them set achievable goals. Fortunately, our librarian can really help with this. Last year we doubled up on our reading time, adding independent reading time. As soon as students found books they actually could read, reading became important to them. This is so important to helping students get into the reading levels needed in their content reading. Our older students can join “Goodreads” to track their reading stats. We also have Accelerated Reader to implement this year, but the focus needs to be on choice. The goal is always 95% accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. The number one research stat: students need to read a lot! That means time actually reading, and that’s what we have added into our school day.
Resources to use:
Classroom Libraries – leveled texts
Right now grades 6 7 8 are participating in the Global Read Aloud. I have copies of the text for each student. It’s a marvelous opportunity to model, teach, and discuss the text evidence literally and inferentially as a class. It’s important to keep the focus on retelling and analyzing the evidence, and not connections to self/world. Everything in the CCSS Standard 1 is focused on understanding what the text says and what that infers. After modeling, students work in small groups to practice, then we share our ideas and blog with other schools in Kidblog. Now that I’m reflecting on the information in Pathways to the Common Core, I see we are on the right track. We’ve started the foundation of our ladder to success.
How about you? What helps you and your students meet goals one and ten?