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Text quality matters for higher level understanding

by Sarah Tierney

For a long time, literacy instruction has been focused on skills and strategies. In some cases, the quality of texts has been a secondary consideration. But if we want our students to be prepared for the reading, writing, and thinking they will do in the future, texts should be an essential component of what we think about when we sit down to create a lesson plan.

Schools can make the shift towards planning with texts in mind by starting with text complexity—that is, understanding what will be easy or challenging about a text. When teachers can identify the trickiest parts of a text, they're better equipped to support students in navigating the text

It’s not enough to identify only the quantitative complexity of a text. You need to dig into the qualitative features a computer can’t measure in order to really understand what students will find challenging about the text.
— Casie Jones, ANet TN oach

We’ve spent ten years learning from thousands of leaders and teachers across the country about the things that make a big difference for schools. Now, we want to give you the opportunity to do the same. We’ve organized these Lessons From the Field in a new section of our website by our main areas of focus—everything from harnessing the power of formative assessments to fostering a culture of adult learning.

Sarah is a director of new partnerships and former coach at ANet. She’s leading the Lessons From the Field project.

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