The Common Core State Standards, as well as many specific state standards, define Text Complexity as a metric that determines how challenging a material is for a child at their specific grade level. Three factors are used to determine the complexity of the text: qualitative measures, quantitative measures, and considerations relating to the reader and task, all of which have to be rated on the basis of grade-level appropriateness.
Reading A-Z and Raz-Kids offer books designed and written to 29 levels of difficulty. Great care has been taken to analyze each and every book using multiple quantitative and qualitative factors. Teachers can be sure that each leveled book their students have access to meets CCSS standards.
Headsprout's reading comprehension sequence of lessons teaches comprehension skills across increasingly complex text. As students demonstrate mastery, the program introduces more complex literary and informational texts, poetry, and visual devices such as Venn diagrams, maps, scales, cross sections, and tables of content.
Science A-Z has an extensive collection of informational texts written to 3 levels of difficulty within a grade span. In order to determine the complexity of the text, each book is analyzed by both quantitative and qualitative factors. Resources are offered at multiple reading levels within each grade span.
Qualitative measures examine text attributes that can only be evaluated by the person who is reading the book or passage. The reader is required to consider such factors as:
Levels of meaning:
Clarity and conventions of language:
Visual device complexity:
Quantitative measures are what publishers traditionally relied upon to determine the difficulty of a text. There are dozens of formulas used to figure text difficulty. Many of these formulas consider only two factors: They look at sentence length and the number of difficult or unfamiliar words, or they look at sentence length and syllable count. Needless to say, these factors are fairly limiting when it comes to determining the complexity of a text.
Considerations relating to the reader and tasks is the vital 3rd component. Each reader brings different skills, background, and motivation to the act of reading. For example, a student who is interested in the topic being read is likely to bring more background knowledge to the reading task and want to learn more.
The importance of the assignment itself can also influence the reading activity. Skimming a book or article for a key piece of information or reading leisurely places less demand on the reading task than if a student is preparing for an exam, assembling a piece of equipment, or reading for long-term retention.
See how Learning A-Z products help address CCSS text complexity.