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Measuring Text Complexity: Three Factors

Qualitative evaluation of the text: Levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands

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Quantitative evaluation of the text: Readability measures and other scores of text complexity

Matching reader to text and task: Reader variables (such as motivation, knowledge, and experiences) and task variables (such as purpose and the complexity generated by the task assigned and the ques- tions posed)

Note: More detailed information on text complexity and how it is measured is contained in Appendix A.

Range of Text Types for K–5 Students in K–5 apply the Reading standards to the following range of text types, with texts selected from a broad range of cultures and periods.

Literature Informational Text Stories dramas Poetry Literary nonfiction and Historical, Scientific, and technical texts

Includes children’s adventure stories, folktales, legends, fables, fantasy, realistic fiction, and myth

Includes staged dialogue and brief familiar scenes

Includes nursery rhymes and the subgenres of the narrative poem, limerick, and free verse poem

Includes biographies and autobiographies; books about history, social studies, science, and the arts; technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps; and digital sources on a range of topics

Standard 10: Range, Quality, and Complexity of Student Reading K–5



Common Core State StandardS for enGLISH LanGUaGe artS & LIteraCy In HIStory/SoCIaL StUdIeS, SCIenCe, and teCHnICaL SUbjeCtS


| K

–5 |

r E

A d

iN g


N d

A r

d 1


Literature: Stories, drama, Poetry Informational texts: Literary nonfiction and Historical, Scientific, and technical texts


 Over in the Meadow by John Langstaff (traditional) (c1800)*

 A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer (1967)

 Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie DePaola (1978)

 A Story, A Story by Gail E. Haley (1970)*

 Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (2004)*

 My Five Senses by Aliki (1962)**

 Truck by Donald Crews (1980)

 I Read Signs by Tana Hoban (1987)

 What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (2003)*

 Amazing Whales! by Sarah L. Thomson (2005)*


 “Mix a Pancake” by Christina G. Rossetti (1893)**

 Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (1938)*

 Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1957)**

 Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (1971)**

 Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold (2006)

 A Tree Is a Plant by Clyde Robert Bulla, illustrated by Stacey Schuett (1960)**

 Starfish by Edith Thacher Hurd (1962)

 Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros (1991)**

 From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by James Graham Hale (2004)*

 How People Learned to Fly by Fran Hodgkins and True Kelley (2007)*


 “Who Has Seen the Wind?” by Christina G. Rossetti (1893)

 Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (1952)*

 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (1985)

 Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens (1995)

 Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Mark Teague (2001)

 A Medieval Feast by Aliki (1983)

 From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons (1991)

 The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles (1995)*

 A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick (1997)

 Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (2009)


 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

 “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1888)

 The Black Stallion by Walter Farley (1941)

 “Zlateh the Goat” by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1984)

 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (2009)

 Discovering Mars: The Amazing Story of the Red Planet by Melvin Berger (1992)

 Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms by Patricia Lauber (1996)

 A History of US by Joy Hakim (2005)

 Horses by Seymour Simon (2006)

 Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea by Sy Montgomery (2006)

Note: Given space limitations, the illustrative texts listed above are meant only to show individual titles that are representative of a wide range of topics and genres. (See Appendix B for excerpts of these and other texts illustrative of K–5 text complexity, quality, and range.) At a curricular or instructional level, within and across grade levels, texts need to be selected around topics or themes that generate knowledge and allow students to study those topics or themes in depth. On the next page is an example of progressions of texts building knowledge across grade levels.

*Children at the kindergarten and grade 1 levels should be expected to read texts independently that have been specifically written to correlate to their reading level and their word knowl- edge. Many of the titles listed above are meant to supplement carefully structured independent reading with books to read along with a teacher or that are read aloud to students to build knowledge and cultivate a joy in reading.

* Read-aloud ** Read-along

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