Advancing Our Students’ Language and Literacy: The Challenge of Complex Texts

Adams, M.J. (2011). Advancing Our Students' Language and Literacy: The Challenge of Complex Texts. American Educator, Winter 2010-2011, American Federation of Teachers.

The language of today’s twelfth-grade English texts is simpler than that of seventh-grade texts published prior to 1963. No wonder students’ reading comprehension has declined sharply. The author claims that literacy level of secondary students is languishing because the kids are not reading what they need to be reading. In this article, the author lays out the evidence and argument of her claim. She examines the options for developing students’ vocabulary and presents insights from a computer model of vocabulary acquisition. She also discusses a strategy for developing advanced reading and the role of a common core curriculum. She contends that a great benefit of a common core curriculum is that it would drive a thorough overhaul of the texts educators give students to read, and the kinds of learning and thought they expect their reading to support.

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller