One of the most important elements of an effective ELA classroom is the use of high quality, complex texts. Teachers should evaluate texts to determine if a text is appropriately complex for that grade level and/or time of year. These complex texts should also be rich and worthy of students’ time and attention. In the ELA classroom, 50% of the time should be spend on high quality, complex literary texts while the other 50% should be spend on high quality, complex informational texts.

Text plays a central role in ELA instruction. It is the vehicle by which the standards are taught. Evaluating a text’s complexity is a very important part of planning effective instruction. By carefully thinking about students’ needs as well as challenges of the texts, teachers can seamlessly include the support their students need. By the end of high school, students should experience a staircase of increasingly complex texts, so they are able to independently and proficiently read and be prepared for careers and/or college. Providing a balance of literary and informational texts gives students opportunities to read different types of texts for different purposes.

Before conducting a text complexity analysis, be sure to read NCDPI's Text Selection Guide . In addition to text complexity, this guide contains information on topics such as text sets, choosing the right text for a read aloud, rich and worthy texts, and provides resources on where to locate these texts. Click here for the PDF version and click here for our simplebooklet to start reading!

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