In her new book, Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading Vicki Vinton calls for a shift of focus from complexity of text to the complexity of thinking a reader must engage in in order to understand the text.
I propose that rather than using problematic Lexiles and vague rubrics that contain circular reasoning, we assess a text's complexity by how much a reader has to figure out that the writer has conveyed indirectly... If our ultimate goal is truly independence, we need students to do much more thinking that highly scaffolded approaches ask of them-- and students simply can't take on more complex thinking if the text is too difficult at the work and knowledge levels. Also, students build their identity and sense of agency as readers when they're the ones doing the work, and as students have more positive and agentive reading experiences, they become more competent and confident.
In the following video, Vicki talks about one way to start a move toward a problem-based approach in the classroom:
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To join the conversation about Vicki Vinton's Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading, check out the Facebook group here.
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Vicki Vinton is a literacy consultant and writer who has worked in schools and districts across the country and around the world. She is the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach (2017), and coauthor of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making and The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language. Vicki is also author of the novel The Jungle Law. Additionally, you can find Vicki online, at the popular literacy blog To Make a Prairie (www.tomakeaprairie.com).