Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Common Core Complex Text - Become the Go-to Source

When I was young growing up in "shopping land," Long Island, NY there was a store called Fortunoff's.  Their motto was "The Source."   That's what we librarians are-- The Source. 
This morning, as I fielded a 911 email from a librarian looking for resources, I thought it was important to share this with the greater Cybrary community.  As librarians help teachers find appropriately Lexiled sources for students to read, there is no need to panic.  The following simple steps will help teachers and cybrarians across America meet CCSS requirements for complex text: 
• Databases can be searched by Lexile counts to grab correctly Lexiled passages for any grade level.
• Here is a link to a flyer that explains the importance, if you haven't heard.
• The correct Lexile ranges are found in Appendix A of the CCSS.

• The quickest and easiest source is by the NOVEL NY databases. See the following link for EBSCO's Searchasaurus  as an example.  This has a juvenile interface, but is super easy to use, and --includes higher level resources as well as lower level.   In NYS this is part of our state-wide provided NOVEL resources and is available for ALL NY schools.   Contact your librarian for access information.  Other products such as GALE Academic Onefile and many other GALE products, also have the ability to search by Lexiles.  

A simple search on immigration yielded these results:
I'd like a Staples "Easy button" for this moment.  The teachers love you, and's no big deal.  This is what we do.  We are trained to quickly provide resources, know just where to look and know how to provide them.  Here's a GALE example and please notice the Lexile counts listed.  This is an example of a higher level resource:  

Check the advanced search, if you have trouble finding this Lexile search ability.

THAT IS THE QUICK WAY. There are other ways to search also. Your teachers can find primary source passages at the LOC, on ABC Clio databases, etc,. and then copy the text and paste it into Microsoft Word. At that point, they will need to analyze the text via: Grammar, spelling and grammar, turn on “readability statistics” see picture below. You will get a Fleish-Kincaid level, which roughly equates to Lexile.
See the chart on my website.  On this webpage , I have additional online sites to search for primary source documents, and have other downloadable conversion charts.  The site also has a Lexile analyzer, but it too, has a learning curve to learn. The easiest way to start is with the databases shown above.

We give half day workshops in this for educators and librarians. Almost everyone leaves feeling they are more equipped to handle the Common Core  Complex text issue.  You may want to consider “Lexile-ing” your collection. We did this for ALL of our 84 libraries circulating on our automation system.  Librarians can search by Lexile on any topic. The teachers could also do this and pull a passage from a book.  Some book-jobbers will Lexile your collection for free if you order from them, others charge.  Be certain to inquire what their match rate is for titles.  We were able to obtain about an 80% match for fiction.  Secondary collections come in at about a 50% match, while elementary collections match at the 80% rate.  Some automation suppliers charge big bucks and do not have such success.  Be careful.   

For those who are unaware of what a Lexile is... well you better read the explanation at and become friends with their tools.   RTTT assessments are to built upon Lexile passages.  Make certain your school has aligned their ELA novels with correct Lexile ranges.  That's a no-brainer.  However, many teachers will be disheartened to learn that their sacred cow books are not in the correct Lexile range.  Provide them with some exemplary alternatives!  Become the go-to source.  

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