Text complexity

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Text complexity may not be an easy assignment to cope with and teachers will always try to determine whether a text is rightly fit for their students. Dr. Shanahan talks about the measuring of text complexity. He outlines the methods of measuring text complexity starting with the readability formula. According to him, readability formula would allow one to predict text difficulties in quantitative terms: measure vocabulary difficulty and sentence complexity. However, as good as they may be in such predictions, they are not perfect and that means one should take account of other variables such as cohesive structure. He also stresses on quantitative formula which entails considerations on the student level, lexis level and instructions to be given. Lastly is the qualitative analysis of the text to gauge whether there are features that make the book harder or easier than earlier predicted.

David Pearson on What Works outlines the reasons for engaging with kids around a text: so that they understand the text better by revising the text meaning and to help them over time for future understanding of texts. He also answers the question on what a teacher can do to make good engagement possible in a classroom. First one needs to select the texts worth discussing. Second, plan the discussion well. Lastly, scaffold hard question into smaller ones so as to get the kids back on track just in case the question looks so complex for them. Getting the kids to a greater stage of independence by dividing them into smaller group would also go a long way in aiding their understanding and participation. He finishes by citing a meta-analysis research by Karen Murphy that concluded: having discussions really improve participation rates, your focus really determines which area children get better on and effects are better on higher achievers than lower achievers.