"This vision of text complexity may suggest that there is much to consider beyond the more obvious indicators of difficulty in a text. Glancing at a text and noting that the words are multisyllabic, the sentences complex, and the paragraphs long will tell us something but not enough. And the importance we have placed on the reader-text considerations in judging text complexity should suggest that the unique and personal elements the individual readers bring to the text are just as important, perhaps even more important, in assessing the suitability of a book for a student." pg. 58
Question 9: How do I judge the complexity of a text?
I appreciate that the authors chose not to focus on quantitative and qualitative measures of a text. We know those. We learn about them in college and use them to level our libraries, choose guided reading texts, and lead kids in finding independent reading books. I didn't need a section over that.
These authors knew that and didn't waste the page space. Hallelujah! They focused on reader and task considerations. These are the "human" aspects that we deal with as teachers. Will my students be interested in this book? Do they have sufficient background knowledge to enjoy and understand it? Will this book fit us where we are in the year when looking at their attitudes and maturity level?
Those are such important questions and they take much longer to answer than what level each kid is on. I also think there is another aspect to figure in when considering a class read aloud. Whenever I choose a chapter book to share as a class, I need to make sure I enjoy it. The kids know when their teacher isn't into the book. I don't want to share that. So I make sure that our class read alouds are books that I thoroughly enjoy and am excited to share with them.
I have shared The City of Ember for 2 years in a row and I know it will be a book I share for many more years. I really enjoy it and I can get the kids excited to read it with me. What books do you prefer to read with your class?
Question 10: Are we creating lifelong learners?
I think many people would say no, but as a teacher I am saying yes. I am doing more than teaching kids how to pass a test. I am showing them math skills they will need in life. I am sharing my passion for reading. I am showing them that I don't have all the answers, but that I can find things out. I am showing my students that they can teach me.
I do my best, in the year that I have them, to teach my kids to soak up knowledge and always look for more.