Determining the Complexity of Texts

In addition to finding a text worth reading (see the links below), choosing a text means determining its quantitative and qualitative complexity and its relationship to the intended readers. These skills are covered to a greater or lesser degree in several ELA PD offerings and in the online ELA Professional Learning Community (ELA PLC); contact Joanne Harrington to be added to the ELA PLC (

Briefly, choosing a text requires three steps:

  1. Quantitative: Use quantitative measures [Juicy Studio, Lexile Framework, Intervention Central, Readability Calculator) to assign a text to a grade ban
  2. Qualitative: Use a rubric to analyze the complexity of a text that appears to be within your students' GLE range
  3. Reader and Task: Use your professional judgment to decide how suited the text is for this task (a specific instructional purpose) with these readers (i.e. the students in front of you, rather than generic students)

Sources for Leveled Readings and Text Sets, Free*

See additional sources at ELA Connections.

Topic Area: 
ABE/Adult Education
Curriculum Development
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